Sumatran tiger; Tigre de Sumatra (Fr); Tigre de Sumatra (Sp)
Panthera tigris sumatrae
IUCN: Critically Endangered C2a(i); CITES: Appendix I
Fewer than 400 individuals
Males: 100-140 kg; Females: 75-110 kg
up to 60 cm
up to 250 cm
Where does the Sumatran tiger live?
As indicated by their name, Sumatran tigers live on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a WWF Priority Region.
The subspecies inhabits montane forests, the remaining blocks of the island's lowland forest, peat swamps, and freshwater swamp forests.
It is estimated that Sumatra has approximately 130,000 km2 of remaining habitat for tigers, only one-third of which has some form of protection from development and logging.
Sumatran tiger population
The wild Sumatran tiger population is estimated at fewer than 400 individuals.
Dutch colonists in the early 20th century report that tigers were so numerous and bold that they would enter the planters' estate house compounds.
A 1978 estimate put the population of Sumatran tigers at 1,000.
Today the wild population is estimated at fewer than 400 individuals.
Over half the population is found in the Kerinci Seblat - Bukit Barisan Selatan landscape, which stretches from Tesso Nilo in Riau to Bukit Tigapuluh, and then from Kerinci Seblat to Bukit Barisan Selatan.
Threats to Sumatran tigers
Large-scale habitat loss
Habitat for the Sumatran tiger has been drastically reduced by logging, clearing for agriculture and plantations, and settlement.
Indonesian forestry officials acknowledge that in many parts of the island, illegal timber harvesting and forest conversion are out of control.
Approximately 67,000 km² of forest was lost in Sumatra from 1985 to 1997, most of this being lowland rainforest. Moreover, the annual rate of forest loss has been increasing across Indonesia.
Today, around 130,000km² of tiger habitat remains on Sumatra, with just 42,000km² of this protected as some form of conservation area.
Even protected areas face problems. National parks have been isolated from one another through logging and forest conversion, and as a result there is little to no interchange and gene flow between the separated tiger populations.
Coming into conflict with people
Habitat destruction not only reduces tiger numbers, but also prey. As a result, tigers move into settled areas in search of food, where they are more likely to come into conflict with people.
Indeed, human-tiger conflict is a serious problem in Sumatra compared to other parts of the tiger's global range. People have been killed or wounded, and livestock fall prey to tigers. Retaliatory action by villagers can result in the killing of the tiger.
Hunted for skins and bones
Although the numbers of tigers incidentally killed or as a result of human-tiger conflict are significant, most tigers in Sumatra are apparently killed deliberately for commercial gain.
According to a TRAFFIC survey, poaching for trade is responsible for over 78% of estimated Sumatran tiger deaths, consisting of at least 40 animals per year and possibly higher.
Moreover, there is no evidence that tiger poaching has declined significantly since the early 1990s. This is despite intensified conservation and protection measures in Sumatra, and the apparent success globally in curtailing markets for tiger bone.
What is WWF doing?
WWF works to decrease wild Sumatran tiger poaching incidences in Bukit Tigapuluh National Park and decrease the market demand for tiger parts in big cities in Indonesia. WWF also works to improve the capability of law enforcement officers to identify tiger parts.
WWF projects that support this work:
- Visit this page for a full list of actions you can take to help protect tigers and support our Tiger Campaign.
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