In The Wild
The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is a subspecies that is native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It lives in forest habitats in both lowland and mountainous areas.
The Sumatran tiger is the smallest of all tiger subspecies, and its stripes are narrower than those of other tigers. It also has a distinctive bearded and maned appearance, especially the males. In the wild, Sumatran tigers prey on wild boar, Malayan tapirs and deer. They also prey on monkeys, fish, and birds.
Sumatran tigers are fast losing ground to many threats. Habitat loss, fragmentation and destruction are pushing tigers into smaller and smaller areas and closer to human habitations, making human-tiger conflicts more common. Habitat loss and fragmentation also makes the tigers’ prey food sources scarcer. Much of this habitat loss can be attributed to expansion of farming activities.
Poaching of tigers for illegal trade and traditional medicine is also rife in Indonesia due to the strong demand for tiger products in Indonesia and in other countries. Although there are some protected areas for the tiger on Sumatra and conservation efforts are continuing, many tigers are killed by poachers even within the protected zones—and sometimes even in zoos.
Estimates of the number of Sumatran tigers left in the wild are discouraging. A study in 2004 placed the number of Sumatran tigers in the wild at around 340 – 500.