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Sumatran Tiger

IUCN Red List status - Critically Endangered



The Sumatran tiger is the smallest and also the darkest tiger subspecies. It can be found solely on the Isle of Sumatra and small surrounding offshore islands in Indonesia. Indonesia had once two other tiger subspecies, but these became extinct in the last century. These tiger subspecies were the
  • Bali tiger - extinct since the 1940s,
  • Javan tiger - extinct since the 1970s.

This tiger subspecies is classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, although with 400 - 500 individuals their numbers are similar to the Amur tiger. The Sumatran tiger is however severely threatened by a rapid decline of habitat due to Oil Palm Plantations, which leads to deforestation even in protected areas. Besides this, the Sumatran tiger has also a high rate of killings due to trade in tiger parts and also due to the human/wildlife conflict
(tigers running out of natural habitat and prey, ending up on plantations and sometimes even in villages) . A study in 1998 - 2002 showed that at least 51 Sumatran tigers are killed per year (15% in human/wildlife conflict situations and 76% being poached for the trade in tiger parts) .

The Sumatran tiger has a deep orange coat with black stripes. Its mane is also larger in comparision to other tiger subspecies, and this tiger subspecies has webs between the toes; making it an excellent swimmer. Like all tiger subspecies the Sumatran tiger loves water and has been seen swimming in the ocean
(to surrounding offshore islands) .

The habitat of Sumatran tigers is a mixture of mountain, lowland, and peat forest. The home range of males is believed to be up to 52km2 while the territory of a female is naturally smaller with up to 27km2.



The information about Sumatran tigers was sourced from the IUCN, 21st Century Tiger and ZSL web pages