Habitat: The Sumatran tigers’ habitat ranges from Lowland Forests to MountainForests. The last remaining stronghold blocks of suitable habitat are predominantly found in the central and southern areas of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. These tigers favour a mixed habitat which encompasses lowland forest, peat swamps and freshwater swamp forests. This habitat is estimated to cover around 130,000 square kilometres but only one third of the area is protected against logging and development.Even in protected areas of forest, camera traps intended to monitor wildlife record logging incidents and mass deforestation. Ranger patrolling is inadequate and poaching incidents are frequent even in protected reserves.
Location: Exclusively on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
IUCN Listing: Critically endangered
Population: Fewer than 400 individuals are estimated to remain in the wild. This has fallen from around 1000 in 1978.
Size: The Sumatran tiger is smaller and darker than the Royal Bengal tiger. They can weigh between 75-150kg, with the males weighing around 30% more than the females. They can measure up to 2.5 metres in length.
Major Threats: All existing wild populations are under extreme risk as a result of poaching, prey depletion due to human hunting, habitat fragmentation and destruction as a result of logging and clearing for agriculture, plantations and settlements. This has resulted in fragmented populations which are further impacted by the lack of diversity in the gene pool.
Although Sumatran tigers are protected by law in Indonesia with tough penalties including custodial sentences and heavy fines, there has been no significant decline in poaching with more than 75% of tiger deaths per annum being deliberate for commercial gain. In spite of increased efforts by tiger conservationists, law enforcers and anti-poaching measures there is still a substantial market in Sumatra for tiger parts and products.
The shrinking habitat and reduction in prey base has meant that tigers often encroach into populated settlements looking for food. This results in increased human-tiger conflict and retributive killings and actions against the tigers. Human-tiger conflict is on the increase.