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Tigers in Nepal take to night shift to avoid humans

Researchers at Michigan State University found that instead of the theory that tigers are being pushed out of their habitat, they are learning to co-exist by becoming nocturnal.

tiger tigerEnlarge
A new study shows that tigers in Nepal are staying awake at night to avoid humans in the day. (Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images)

Tigers are using the night to adapt to daytime human behavior new research suggests.

Researchers at Michigan State University found that instead of the theory that tigers are being pushed out of their habitat, they are instead learning to co-exist by becoming nocturnal.

The new findings contradict early ideas that tigers were unable or unwilling to adapt to human infringement on their territory.

"This has highly important implications," said study researcher Jianguo Liu, a sustainability researcher at Michigan State University, reported LiveScience.

"In the past, people were always thinking we needed to have tigers and people separate across space. This study indicates they can share the same space."

The study used video cameras to track the tigers for two years in Chitwan National Park in Nepal.

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It is believed that about 125 tigers live in the park.

BBC reported that researchers found that the local residents and tigers used the same footpaths but at different times of day.

The study found that tigers in the area were 17 percent less active during the day than tigers in less populated areas, said Scientific American.

This suggests that Chitwan tigers, who live in areas with large numbers of humans nearby, may be adapting and becoming more active at night to reduce their chances of an encounter with a biped.

Tiger attacks are relatively rare anywhere in the world, yet a 17 year-old boy was killed last April in Chitwan by a tiger.

The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120904/tigers-nepal-take-night-shift-avoid-humans