The Sumatran Tiger
It is estimated that only between 500-600 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild, and the actual number may be as low as 400. And their population is dwindling rapidly. A 1978 a tiger census reported around 1,000 Sumatran tigers still in the wild. This means over the last 25 years, the population of Sumatran tigers has been cut in half.
The Sumatran tiger is considered to be a ‘critically’ endangered species.
The Sumatran tiger is found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra off the Malaysian Peninsula. Their habitat ranges from lowland forest to mountain forest and includes evergreen, swamp and tropical rain forests.
In recent years Sumatra has seen a great deal of agricultural growth and this has fragmented the tigers habitat. Most of the remaining Sumatran tigers now live in five National Parks, two Game Reserves, though around 100 live in an unprotected area that will most likely be lost to agriculture in the near future.
This destruction of habitat is considered the greatest threat to the survival of the Sumatran tiger, followed by poaching. The tigers are especially vulnerable to poaching in the ‘unprotected’ areas.
Although it is illegal to hunt Sumatran tigers, this has not stopped the poaching of these animals for tiger products. China is considered the largest consumer and producer of manufactured products containing tiger parts, though tiger bones and other tiger products have been found in Taiwan and South Korea, and in North American cities.
If they are to survive, or not be an endangered species, then people need to have the wisdom to see the Sumatran tiger’s place in the world and in a culture.