The Bengal Tiger, India's national animal, once thrived all over South Asia in a range of habitats, from mangrove swamps to savanna to rainforest. It frequents Indian art and folklore and appears even on seals of the Indus Valley Civilization. But owing to the human population explosion in the last century, trophy hunting by former British and Indian royals and others, shrinking habitats, and the importance of tiger parts in traditional Chinese medicine, it is severely endangered today.
Barely a thousand tigers now survive in the wild, down from 40,000 a century ago. As recently as the 1990s, there were 3X more tigers than today—implying a tiger lost every third day since! Seems to me that the majestic animal that Jim Corbett called "a large-hearted gentleman" is heading for extinction (I saw one in the Corbett NP in 2005). This is despite Project Tiger, a major conservation effort begun in 1973 with 9 tiger reserves, expanding to 27.
In 2003, I visited the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan with my parents. I took some video footage that I've edited and posted below (8 mins). It shows no tigers but includes an interesting segment of a local man, Dharma, employed by a guesthouse at the reserve, reminiscing about the olden days when the area was full of tigers. Brimming with stories of close encounters, he had honed a bard-like storytelling style replete with bluster and machismo to convey all the drama, and was happy to have an audience. Curiously, he told us that there were no tigers left in Sariska, well before a 2005 investigation revealed that the park had "lost" all 26 of its tigers that were supposedly there when we visited in 2003 (after that disaster—listen to Attenborough describe it—a few tigers were recently reintroduced from a nearby reserve). The video also includes scenes from the reserve with animals like cheetal, sambar, nilgai, peacock, wild pig, langur, and more. Enjoy!