Sumatran Tiger

The last population of tigers in the Sunda islands, the Bali and Javan population have already been lost. In 2017, a genetic analysis showed that the Javan and Bali tigers are too similar to the Caspian tiger, and that therefore, they are the same. The Sumatran tiger populations is not doing terribly, but there is still much work to be done, in order to be sure that this last population should not be lost. Given the close relationship between these island species, it seems reasonable to suppose that if the Sumatran population can recover, they might be reintroduced into Java and Bali.


The Sumatran tiger persists in small and fragmented populations across Sumatra, from sea level in the coastal lowland forest of Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park on the southeastern tip of Lampung Province to 3,200 m (10,500 ft) in mountain forests of Gunung Leuser National Park in Aceh Province.

Evidence shows it is present in 27 habitat patches larger than 250 km2 (97 sq mi), which cover 140,226 km2 (54,142 sq mi). About a third of these patches are inside protected areas.

Sumatran tigers prefer lowland and hill forests, where up to three tigers live in an area of 100 km2 (39 sq mi). They do use areas alongside these conditions, but not as much.

In 1978, the Sumatran tiger population was estimated at 1,000 individuals, based on responses to a questionnaire survey. In 1985, a total of 26 protected areas across Sumatra containing about 800 tigers were identified. In 1992, an estimated 400–500 tigers lived in five Sumatran national parks and two protected areas. At that time, the largest population unit comprised 110–180 individuals in Gunung Leuser National Park. As of 2011, the tiger population in Kerinci Seblat National Park in central Sumatra comprised 165–190 individuals, which is more than anywhere else on the island. The park has the highest tiger occupancy rate of Sumatra’s protected areas, with 83% of the park showing signs of tigers.

Sumatra’s total tiger population was estimated at 618 ± 290 individuals in 2017.

The greatest threat to the tigers, is increased habitat loss and fragmentation. There is a further 375 tigers in captivity, though it is far easier to conserve a wild population than to introduce a whole new population from captivity.

As with many on this list, tourism greatly helps, I will add links as I get them.


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