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Are Sumatran Tigers Endangered?

Updated on November 9, 2019
Donna-Rayne profile image

Donna is a lifelong poet and writer, she shares her love of God, and in helping others draw from His strength to get past life's struggles..

The Sumatran Tiger - Panthera Tigris Sumatra

Sumatran Tigers are Endangered and the question is: who is responsible for their decline?

The Sumatran tiger population is declining rapidly nevertheless, the question remains; What can we do to help ensure the tigers live without fear of their extinction?

The Sumatran is the smallest tiger of the species and is the last species to survive in Indonesia: their cousins who are extinct are the Bali tiger (Panthera Tigris Balica) and the Javan tiger (Panthera Tigris Sondaica).

What is the Sumatran Tigers Habitat?

Sumatran tigers live in the beautiful Tropical Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia, where three National Parks are located:

The rainforest is protected by WWF (World Wildlife Fund), a priority region in which strict protective measures are in place to protect tigers and other wildlife.

In the tropical rainforest the Sumatran tiger lives among the following animals:



Sumatran Elephants

Sumatra Rainforest

In this tropical rainforest the Sumatran tiger lives among the following animals:

  • Rhinos
  • Orangutans
  • Sumatran Elephants
  • Different species of birds and fish
  • And other smaller animals

What happened to the rainforest to push these tigers to near extinction and how many are left in the world?

Sumatran Tigers Population

Eww... that thigh bone tasted gross ma!
Eww... that thigh bone tasted gross ma!

The population of the Sumatran tiger is declining, there's no doubt about that, luckily there are agencies that have put powerful laws in place to protect this wild cat.

Deforestation - Cause and Effect

  1. Conflict and vulnerability of poachers who don't obey the protection laws in place to prevent poaching
  2. The fear-based killing of tigers by humans
  3. Wildlife Trade
  4. Major threats by men who destroy their habitat, therefore, reducing the availability of prey
  5. Resulting in the tigers walking long distances to find food due to the rapid rate of deforestation

Sumatran Tigers - Indonesia

Killed for profit! This angers me so much!
Killed for profit! This angers me so much!

It's illegal to hunt Sumatran tigers in Indonesia and is punishable by jail and fines but who enforces the law and why are poachers slaughtering these beautiful cats? And yes, I said slaughter not kill because some of these tigers don't even have a chance to defend themselves

If the poachers were to go one on one, head to head, without guns or whatever they hunt with, it would be a different outcome and rightfully so!

Well, all this is due to the high demand and price tag for tiger parts and bones and fur, no matter what, this trade remains strong in Asia and in other countries as well.

The poachers slaughter tigers for the Fur Trade Fashion and Interior Trade industries! Humans are hunting them down for commercial gain because of the wants and needs of "man."

Did You Know?

According to TRAFFIC, the global wildlife trade monitoring network, "Poaching for trade is responsible for over 78% of Sumatran tiger deaths, that's at least 40 animals per year."

According to TRAFFIC, the global wildlife trade monitoring network, "Poaching for trade is responsible for over 78% of Sumatran tiger deaths, that's at least 40 animals per year."

What I don't get is that if there are laws in place and/or enforced, yet these tigers are still classified by the IUCN on its Red List of Threatened Species as endangered since 2008.

Something has to happen soon or else this cat is looking at its demise and then what will happen?

Sumatran Tigers Extinction - WWF Protective Measures

Gorgeous Sumatran Tiger -  I wonder if it's breeding season and if Suzie will see me again?
Gorgeous Sumatran Tiger - I wonder if it's breeding season and if Suzie will see me again?

While WWF protects 1/3 of the tropical rainforest and the animals, unfortunately, this definitely is not enough. There need to be stricter laws with severe penalties if caught killing a tiger.

I believe that and once more is done and perhaps the poachers see what happens if you're caught killing a tiger, maybe they would think twice or just not kill them at all!

We need to go after people who want the bones and skin and fur plus other body parts and make them worthless and shut down those who are caught selling them?

I think so, guess I'm being inhumane but I digress...

Did You Know?

Tigers hunt through forests, grass levels, wetlands and higher elevations of 8,000 feet above sea level.

Over the years there has been a decline in the population of these tigers, So, let's take a look back in the past, shall we? (

  • In 1978 the population of the Sumatran tiger was 1,000 individual tigers
  • 26 protected areas in 1985 and only had 800 tigers.
  • In 1992 there were 400 to 500 tigers living in 5 Sumatra National Parks with the largest population of tigers.
  • Gunung National Park in 1992 there were 110-180 tigers living in the park
  • There were 53 Sumatran tigers who were killed in 1997 by poachers!
  • The IUCN in 2008 estimates that there are 441 to 679 individual tigers remaining.
  • Kerinci Seblat National Park in 2012 had 165-190 tigers living in the park making this park with the highest total of tigers.
  • Overall, in 2017618-690 tigers were reported living on Sumatra Island.

I wanted the leg!
I wanted the leg!

Let me ask you this question If tigers were no longer roaming the rainforest what do you think would happen?

The population of antelope, wild boar, deer, guar (hoofed animals) would rise drastically because the tiger wouldn't be here to control their population growth.

This would also cause what is known as co extinction of the other animals I just listed, for example, these animals live in the forest where the tigers once roamed

And because there wouldn't be enough food to keep the overpopulation of the ecosystem the animals would die off and their species would die off until none are left!

So, it's very important to make sure the laws and regulations that are in place are followed in protecting the tiger from extinction.

Although this is a large predator albeit they are very important to the ecosystem of things, without them, the system would go haywire.

On a much happier note, let's take some time to cherish the beauty of the Sumatran tiger first let's talk about their enormous paws!

They have large front webbed paws with 5 toes and razor-sharp claws that they pull inside when they walk, which helps keep them sharp.

The males are extremely protective over their territory and mark their territories by scratching trees with their paws and also by marking by spraying their urine over the trees, bushes, and land.

The female tiger is less protective over their territory and will allow other females and their grown cubs to roam freely within her marked territory.

Sumatran Tiger

Seriously, Becky didn't come by yet and dinner was an hour ago!
Seriously, Becky didn't come by yet and dinner was an hour ago!

What can you do to help the Sumatra tiger?

Adopt a Tiger!

Contact your local conservation or animal sanctuary and adopt a wild animal, there are programs out there from sponsoring to adopting.

If you want to help some of these endangered wild tigers and animals in general then this is the way to do it!

Wildlife sanctuaries that have the adoption program:

Smithsonian Institute

World Adopt a wild pet program

Sponsor or donate! Safe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary Nevada

Yeah! Adopt me and we'll do lunch...
Yeah! Adopt me and we'll do lunch...

It doesn't seem right for tigers to fear extinction, although I'm sure they don't know it, still, it's a sad situation.

Poachers and shops are in it for commercial gain and they tend to ignore the laws and regulations that have been put in place.

It's a constant battle and people need to realize that all wildlife is precious and needs to be saved.

God made them for a reason...

To keep the ecosystem in check with every animal has a purpose to fulfill and if we can help them do that, then it's definitely worth it!

© 2019 Donna Rayne


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    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      17 months ago from Sparks, Nevada

      Hello Pankaj,

      Thank you very much for reading my article and yes two different species of tigers can mate, but only in captivity also, the only two Hybrid combined together were the Siberian and Bengal tigers.

      And yes, sadly the human race would thrive more if we took great care of this earth!

    • Polo27 profile image

      Polo Thoughts 

      17 months ago from Pune

      Can a Sumatran tiger mated with a Bengal tiger? Is there any experiment which has mated different species of tigers?

      It was nice article but unfortunately we humans abhor solutions to problems which do not affect us in the short run. Else we would have banned meat industry, restricted Airconditioning.......but our future generations will have to live (or die?) with it. If the wildlife could pray ,they would ask for more Chernobyls.


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