- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Clade: Synapsida
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Felidae
- Genus: Panthera
- Species: P. Tigris
- Subspecies: P. T. Sumatrae
Indonesia has already lost two sub-species of beautiful tigers to extinction, the Bali Tiger and the Javan Tiger. There are less than 500 Sumatran Tigers in Indonesia, the species may be the next tiger to face extinction. The last surviving Sumatran Tigers are living in their dying days, listed as critically endangered, this Indonesian tiger is in desperate need of help.
The Sumatran Tiger is distinguished by bold black stripes against their orange fur, they are the smallest tiger subspecies weighing up to 308lbs as adults. Inhabiting the tropical, broadleaf forests, they are an essential role in the maintenance of the forest’s biodiversity.
In the late 70s, experts estimated the population of Sumatran tigers at 1,000, however, due to accelerating deforestation and illegal poaching the numbers of Sumatran tigers have decreased rapidly in large numbers over the years. Human activities such as farming, hunting, and gathering natural products from the forest, have also caused the population of Sumatran tigers to plummet.
Sumatra’s deforestation is out of control, the country previously lost 36 percent of its natural forest covers between 1990 and 2010 due to Palm oil plantations. The loss of natural habitats has forced the Tigers to move into villages in search of food and water. As a result of the tigers moving out of their natural habitat, humans have been wounded and killed, and livestock have fallen prey to tigers. As a result of retaliatory actions, human-wildlife conflict has become a serious problem in Sumatra.
Most tigers in Sumatra are killed for commercial gain, unfortunately, illegal trade of exotic animals continues to operate as a lucrative business. Tiger cubs are being sold for £67,000 a pair as pets in Indonesia (as of 2010). There is a continuous demand for the Sumatran’s tiger bones and skin products, which are regarded as medicinal ingredients in many parts of Indonesia and the rest of Asia. According to a survey from TRAFFIC, the global wildlife trade monitoring network; poaching for trade is responsible for at least 40 Sumatran tiger deaths per year.
Today, there are sanctuaries that are trying to save the beautiful Sumatran tigers from extinction. In Indonesia, anyone caught hunting tigers could face jail time and extreme fines. But it is imperative that the government strengthens its wildlife protection policies and law enforcement in order to save this magnificent cat from disappearing in the wild.