Odisha will start a melanistic tiger safari near Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR).

Melanistic Tigers:

  • These tigers are often referred to as “black tigers” and are a rare subspecies of Bengal tigers.
  • They have strong black stripes on their bodies, which are caused by pseudo-melanism.
  • IUCN status- Endangered
  • WLPA status- not listed in any schedule of the Wild Life Protection Act 1972.


  • The natural habitats of melanistic tigers are the dense forests of the Similipal Tiger Reserve in Odisha. 
  • The Similipal Tiger Reserve is the only place in the world where these tigers are found.

Similipal Tiger Reserve:

  • The Similipal Tiger Reserve is situated in the northernmost region of Odisha, in the Mayurbhanj District. 
  • It is a UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve, National Park, and Tiger Reserve.
  • The tract contains high water levels and seasonal water sources that connect to rivers such as Budhabalanga, Salandi, and tributaries of the Baitarani River.


  • Pseudo-melanism differs from melanism and is induced by a single mutation in transmembrane aminopeptidase Q (Taqpep), which also causes similar traits in other cat species. 
  • The STR, located in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district and bordering Jharkhand and West Bengal, is Asia’s second-largest biosphere and the only natural habitat for melanistic royal Bengal tigers in the country. 

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