Sumatran Tigers Endangered?
The Sumatran Tiger – Panthera Tigris Sumatra
Welcome to another chapter from my The Big Cat Series and today we are going to examine if the Sumatran Tigers are Endangered and who is responsible for their decline?
The Sumatran tiger population is declining rapidly nevertheless, the question remains; What can we do to help ensure the tigers have a right to live without fear of their extinction?
The smallest tiger species and are the last species to survive in Indonesia: their cousins who are extinct are the Bali tiger (Panthera Tigris Balica) and the Javan tiger (Panthera Tigris Sondaica)
These were beautiful cats as well and we will learn about them in my Big Cat Series
What is the Sumatran Tigers Habitat?
Sumatran tigers live in the beautiful Tropical Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia, where three National Parks are located:
The rainforest is protected by WWF (World Wildlife Fund), a priority region in which strict protective measures are in place to protect tigers and other wildlife.
More about this in a moment…
In this tropical rainforest the Sumatran tiger lives among the following animals:
- Sumatran Elephants
- Different species of birds and fish
- And other smaller animals
What happened to the rainforest to push these tigers to near extinction and how many are left in the world well, although this is such a sad topic we will press on…
Which brings us to the decline in the tiger population crisis.
Sumatran Tigers Population
The population of the Sumatran tiger is declining, there’s no doubt about that, so let’s take a look at what is going on and how some agencies have put powerful laws in place to protect this animal.
Deforestation – Cause and Effect
- Conflict and vulnerability of poachers who don’t obey the protection laws in place to prevent poaching…
- The fear-based killing of tigers by humans
- Wildlife Trade
- Major threats by men who destroy their habitat, therefore, reducing the availability of prey
- Resulting in the tigers walking long distances to find food due to the rapid rate of deforestation
Sumatran Tigers – Indonesia
It’s illegal to hunt Sumatran tigers in Indonesia and is punishable by jail and fines regardless of whether poaching still continues, but why?
Who enforces the law and why are these poachers slaughtering these beautiful animals? And yes, I said slaughter not kill because some of these tigers don’t even have a chance to defend themselves
If the poachers were to go one on one, head to head, without guns or whatever they hunt with it would be a totally different outcome and rightfully so!
Well, all this is due to the high demand and price tag for tiger parts and bones and fur, no matter what, this trade remains strong in Asia and in other countries as well.
The poachers also slaughter tigers for the Fur Trade Fashion and Interior Trade industries! Humans are hunting them down for commercial gain because of the wants and needs of the “man.”
According to TRAFFIC, the global wildlife trade monitoring network, “Poaching for trade is responsible for over 78% of Sumatran tiger deaths, that’s at least 40 animals per year.”
What I don’t get is that if there are laws in place and/or enforced, yet they are still classified by the IUCN on its Red List of Threatened Species as endangered since 2008.
This truly makes me so mad and so sad in my heart, I love tigers with all my heart, and their beauty brings me to tears although, I don’t know why that happens to me I’m ok with it.
Sumatran Tigers Extinction – WWF Protective Measures
While WWF protects a 1/3 of the tropical rainforest and the animals, unfortunately, this is definitely not enough. There need to be stricter laws against severe penalties if caught killing a tiger.
I really believe that and once more is done and the poachers witness what happens if you’re caught killing a tiger, perhaps they would think twice or just not kill them at all!
Do we need to go after people who want the bones and skin and fur plus other body parts and make them worthless and shut down these people who are caught selling them?
I think so, guess I’m being inhumane but I digress…
Over the years there has been a decline in the population of these tigers, So, let’s take a look back in the past, shall we? (wikipedia.com)
- In 1978 the population of the Sumatran tiger was 1,000 individual tigers
- 26 protected areas in 1985 and only had 800 tigers.
- In 1992 there were 400 to 500 tigers living in 5 Sumatra National Parks with the largest population of tigers.
- Gunung National Park in 1992 there were 110-180 tigers living in the park
- There were 53 Sumatran tigers who were killed in 1997 by poachers!
- The IUCN in 2008 estimates that there are 441 to 679 individual tigers remaining.
- Kerinci Seblat National Park in 2012 had 165-190 tigers living in the park making this park with the highest total of tigers.
- Overall, in 2017618-690 tigers were reported living on Sumatra Island.
About Sumatran Tiger – Life & Behaviors
The tigers hunt through forests, grass levels, wetlands and at higher elevations of 8,000 feet above sea level. Plus, they prefer being closer to the center of the forest and areas closest to water.
They will sometimes force their prey into the water in order to trap them. This causes the tiger to have a hunting advantage and the ability to have a successful kill.
Here is a list of their hunting skills that will amaze you, I know it amazed me:
- The Sumatran tiger has excellent hunting skills
- While hunting, this tiger will stalk until he has the advantage, ultimately leading up to a surprise attack.
- This tiger prefers to hunt at nightfall due to the fact they can hide in the tall grass unnoticed.
- They move slowly and patiently watching the animal for 20 to 30 minutes until the time is right to attack.
- This big cat is super fast with a top speed of 40 to 60 miles per hour.
- They can only maintain this speed in shorter distances.
- The Sumatran tiger can leap 30 to 33 feet making their leap size in comparison to a mountain lion!
- Wow that’s insane and for such a small cat compared to the Siberian tiger (read more here)
The Sumatran Tigers Diet
The Sumatran’s eating habits are no different than most tigers, for instance, this big cat loves;
- Wild boar
Can you imagine what these tigers look like in person and leave me in awe of how amazing and beautiful these creatures are!
Like all other tigers, the Sumatran tiger is a solitary animal and only will cohabitate during mating season or in raising their cubs other than that, they prefer to live alone.
Although this is a large predator albeit they are very important to the ecosystem of things, without them, the system would go haywire.
Let me ask you this question If tigers were no longer roaming the rainforest what do you think would happen?
The population of antelope, wild boar, deer, guar (hoofed animals) would rise drastically because the tiger wouldn’t be here to control their population growth.
This would also cause what is known as co extinction of the other animals I just listed, for example, these animals live in the forest where the tigers once roamed
And because there wouldn’t be enough food to keep the overpopulation of the ecosystem the animals would die off and their species would die off until none are left!
So, it’s very important to make sure the laws and regulations that are in place are followed in protecting the tiger from extinction.
Other Sumatran Tiger Information
On a much happier note, let’s take some time to cherish the beauty of the Sumatran tiger first let’s talk about their enormous paws!
They have large front webbed paws with 5 toes and razor-sharp claws that they pull inside when they walk, which helps keep them sharp.
The males are extremely protective over their territory and mark their territories by scratching trees with their paws and also by marking by spraying their urine over the trees, bushes, and land.
The female tiger is less protective over their territory and will allow other females and their grown cubs to roam freely within her marked territory.
Sumatran Tigers Male & Female
The average weight and length of the tiger are as follows:
- 220-310 pounds (120 kilos)
- 8 feet long (2.4 meters)
Females are much smaller:
- 170 to 240 pounds (90 kilos)
- 7 feet long (2.2 meters)
Male and female tigers which bring us to their breeding season and although they breed all year long
The average mating season is between November and April, which are the cooler months of the year.
Any other time is too hot and humid with summer temperatures coming in at a steady 100 degrees-F and the humidity just makes it twice as hot!
When I lived in Indiana, it was extremely humid and when the heat came in, it made it feel a lot hotter and sticky and miserable!
So imagine with the tiger’s thick fur coat they must be burning up hot!
Now for my favorite part of this article:
Sumatran Tiger – Cubs
After the gestation of 103 days, mama gives birth to around 3 to 5 cubs with the average born are usually 3 cubs.
- The cubs are born blind and weigh around 2 pounds (1 kilo)
- The first 8 weeks momma feeds them her milk and then she gradually weans the cubs.
- The baby won’t leave the den until around 2 months old as she slowly introduces them to meat.
- At 6 months old, she starts to teach them how to hunt and kill prey
- By the time the cubs are a year and a half old, they are ready to hunt for themselves.
- When the cubs are teens (2 years old) they are ready to hunt and are fully independent!
Imagine that your child has grown up enough to be independent by 2 years old, wow that’s a scary thought, don’t you think?
No thank you, child! Haha
it just doesn’t seem right for these tigers to fear extinction, although I’m sure they don’t know it, still, it’s a sad situation.
Poachers are in it for commercial gain and the shops are in it for the same where they ignore the laws and regulations in place.
It’s a constant battle and people need to realize that all wildlife is precious and needs to be saved.
God made them for a reason…
To keep the ecosystem in check with every animal has a purpose to fulfill and if we can help them do that, then it’s definitely worth it, don’t you think?
But what can we do and although I wish there was something that could be done about it and I would do it… wait… wait.. just one second…
This will blow your mind, my friends…
Adopt a Sumatran Tiger
Contact your local conservation or animal sanctuary and adopt a wild animal, there are programs out there from sponsoring to adopting.
If you want to help some of these endangered wild tigers and animals in general then this is the way to do it!
I have listed a few wildlife sanctuaries that I found.
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Would love to hear what you think and just leave your comments and suggestions in the comments section below.
If there is a particularly big cat you want to be featured send me a note and I will do my best.
The next article will be about our domesticated cat at home, our fur babies and give the big cats a rest for a few and then it’s onward to more exciting articles and sharing the love of CATS
Take care and we’ll talk to you soon!
Meowz to you!
Donna Rayne & Sammie Mae
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