Sumatran Tiger

Panthera tigris sumatrae

The Sumatran tiger is one of only six subspecies of tiger that survives today; they are classified as critically endangered, with fewer than 400 individuals in the wild. As top predators, they keep populations of wild prey in check, thereby maintaining the balance between prey and the vegetation upon which they feed.

Tigers face a two-fold threat: they are rapidly losing their habitat to massive deforestation and their body parts are highly valued on the black market for traditional Asian medicines, jewelry, charms and decoration. Sumatran tigers are found only on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.


Physical description

  • The Sumatran tiger is the smallest of all the tiger subspecies alive today.
  • Adult males can measure up to a height of 60 centimeters and have a head-to-toe length of 250 centimeters and can weigh up to 140 kilograms.
  • Females average a length of 198 centimeters and can weigh up to 91 kilograms. The Sumatran has the darkest coat of all the tigers, ranging from reddish-yellow through to deep orange.


Threats


The Sumatran tiger is on the verge of extinction due to poaching, loss of prey species and rampant habitat loss. Strict enforcement must take place in Sumatra to stop the poaching and black market trade of these tigers.

Nowadays, the last 400 or so tigers are confined in the remaining blocks of lowland, peatland, and montane rainforests. Many of these areas are threatened by conversion to agriculture and commercial plantationas well as encroachment by logging and road construction. As their forests disappear, tigers are forced into closer contact with people and are frequently killed or placed in captivity after straying into communities.

Riau Province is home to at least a third of the Sumatran tiger population, but even in this stronghold, the tiger population has dropped 70 percent in the past quarter-century. There are an estimated 192 left in Riau.



WWF’s work for Sumatran Tiger Conservation


WWF Indonesia is working with the Indonesian government, industries threatening tiger habitat, other conservation organizations and the local people to save the Sumatran tiger from extinction. In 2004, the Indonesian government declared an important area, Tesso Nilo, as a national park to ensure a secure future for the Sumatran tiger.

Using the momentum of the Year of the Tiger Campaign in 2010, WWF-Indonesia pushed for Sumatran tiger’s six priority landscapes to be included in the National Tiger Recovery Program. The national program then was adopted as a global program by 13 tiger range countries in the International tiger Forum at St. Petersburg, Russia, in November 2010. The priority landscapes are Ulumasen, Kampar-Kerumutan, Bukit Tigapuluh, Kerinci Seblat, Bukit Balai Rejang Selatan, and Bukit Barisan Selatan.

WWF is currently undertaking groundbreaking research on tigers in central Sumatra, using camera traps to estimate population size, habitat and distribution to identify wildlife corridors that require protection. WWF also fields an anti-poaching patrol team and a unit that works to reduce human-tiger conflict in local communities.

More about WWF-Indonesia work for Sumatran Tiger