New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: In a rare sighting, an amateur photographer spotted an extremely rare black tiger, known as melanistic tiger, in Odisha. The rare black tiger was spotted at the Simlipal Tiger Reserve and Nandankanan Sanctuary in Odisha.

The black tiger, which is known as the melanistic tiger is only found in India and is also one of the most extremely rare species of tigers. The melanistic tiger derives its name because of a genetic defect, due to which the thick black stripes of hair are very close to each other and hide the orange fur, making the tiger appear as black.

It is believed that inbreeding results in their thick black stripes. The melanistic tigers are actually related to the Bengal tigers but are relatively smaller in size. The tiger species is hardly seen by humans and only spotted in rare events.

According to a report by Metro, the photographer, identified as Soumen Bajpayee, was roaming in the safari and was searching for unique birds and monkeys, when he spotted the melanistic tiger. At first, he said, that he didn't recognized the wild cat as he walked back behind the trees seconds after being visible.

"Back then I didn’t have any idea about melanistic tigers. Then suddenly it appeared from the woods, stayed for a few seconds and walked back behind the trees. Initially, I didn’t even recognise what happened as I saw a completely different tiger," Soumen was quoted as saying by Metro.

"I have seen many tigers before both in the wild and in captivity but this was a completely different one. I was extremely grateful to see it myself even though it was for a few seconds," the photographer further added.

According to the data, the majority of black tigers or melanistic tigers are spotted in the Simlipal Tiger Reserve in Odisha. According to reports, the melanistic tigers were first spotted in the 1990s in Odisha itself. As per the 2018 Tiger Census Report, the number of black tigers reduced drastically in recent years and the species is on the verge of getting extinct.

"There are only seven to eight of them left in Odisha. These black tigers are unique because of the genetic constitution," Dr Bivash Pandav, a wildlife expert and scientist at the Wildlife Institute of India, said as quoted by Times of India.

Posted By: Talib Khan