Sumatran - Page 1&2:
In The Wild | 3:
In Captivity | 4:
Subspecies Description |
5: Weight & Length Figures | 6: Conservation
Threats to the Sumatran tiger:
Indonesia was once home to three of the eight tiger subspecies. Today, two of these are listed as extinct and the tiger is just one of many large mammals to have suffered a severe reduction in numbers. These other large mammals were once prey for the Sumatran and a lack of them inevitably leads to falling tiger numbers.
But the most significant factor in the loss of the Sumatran is reduction of habitat. Sumatra was once a tropical forest paradise, ideal for tigers. Their habitat ranged from lowland woods up to mountain forests and some peat moss. Since 1900, over 80% of this has been destroyed. Even the supposedly 'protected' National Parks have been subjected to some logging.
As habitat has reduced, so the Sumatran tiger has come into conflict with the human population and domestic livestock. In 1998, 11 people were killed in one Sumatran province. So-called, 'problem' tigers are sometimes still shot or poisoned, even though the alternative exists of moving the animal to a captive breeding centre.
Added to these issues we have the effects of poaching and natural disasters such as fire.
At least 66 wild Sumatran tigers were killed in the two years between March 1998 and 2000. This accounted for 20 per cent of the total estimated population. Logging has opened up forests making most areas much more accessible to poachers.
Populations have become very fragmented, with the largest Sumatran group consisting of approximately 110 animals in Gunung Leuser National Park. The remaining tiger groups are all under half this number.
Records for this subspecies are rough at best and in the past 20 years numbers of Sumatran tigers have dropped from a rather vague figure of 'thousands', to an equally sketchy figure of 'hundreds'.
Years after the endangered status of this tiger had been established, hunting and habitat destruction continued unabated, with wild Sumatran numbers rapidly declining to the low numbers we have today.
Sumatran tiger habitat:
Sumatra is approximately the size of California and has difficult terrain. Vast swamps and huge volcanic mountain ranges make access a problem and heavy rains occur throughout much of the year.
Any count of tiger numbers is always difficult. By nature they are an elusive animal and this subspecies, despite being Sumatra's largest carnivore, is rarely sighted in its natural surroundings.
With Thanks To Kevin Borden (Photo 1)