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Sumatran Tiger


Fact File

Continent: Asia
Habitat: Forests, grasslands, wetlands.
Weight and Length: 120kg (males) / 90kg (females), 2m
Diet: Carnivore
Gestation: 103 days
Number of Young: average of 2.5 cubs



  • The smallest living species of tiger.
  • Each tiger has a unique stripe pattern, like our fingerprints.
  • Sumatran tigers’ stripes are closer together than those found on any other subspecies. This enables them to blend into their tropical forest habitat.
  • They will hide in the under bush and pounce on prey using their long powerful legs, jaws and claws to catch and kill their chosen meal.
  • One of their best hunting tactics is to chase their prey into water.
  • Have some webbing between their toes and are very good swimmers, able to out swim some of the larger prey that they may not be able to catch on land.
  • To communicate they will rub their faces together taking in each other’s scent. They also use various growls, grunts and roars in communication.

Sumatran Tiger

Panthera tigris sumatrae

Animals — Mammals — Carnivores — Felidae (cat family)

Sumatran tigers are the smallest and darkest living tiger subspecies. Males also have a prominent ruff of fur around their necks.

Tigers are the only big cats, along with leopards, that enjoy spending time in water. They will often do this to cool down. They are also known as solitary animals, but their social relationships can actually be quite complicated. Tigers have large ranges and often tolerate others in their range, in fact even males will sometimes allow a subordinate male to live nearby. Females will often associate with tigers from their past litters, particularly their daughters. Tigers will also share their kills, and unlike male lions who will dominate kills and eat first, male tigers will allow females and cubs to eat as they do.

Unfortunately, they are critically endangered due to high rates of habitat loss, illegal trade and human-tiger conflict. Much of the forest of Sumatra has been cut down and replaced with oil palm, rubber and acacia plantations. It has been shown that Sumatran tigers strongly prefer not to use these areas, likely as there is less food, less prey, low levels of cover and higher levels of human activity. These tigers are extremely disturbed by human activity.

Habitat: They prefer habitat with dense vegetation to act as cover, and must have water nearby. Their primary habitat is forests, or covered areas near forests.

Vital Statistics:
–Average weight: 120kg (males) / 90kg (females)
–Average length: 2m

Life Expectancy:
In the wild up to: 9 years
In captivity up to: 16 years

Diet: They are carnivores and so eat meat. They prefer to eat meat from animals they have killed themselves, but may scavenge carrion if necessary. Familiar tigers may also share a kill.

Distribution: Isolated populations live in Sumatra, an island of Indonesia.

How we are Protecting Wild Animals
The Sumatran Tiger is critically endangered, with an estimate of only 350 individuals left in the wild! Only 20% of their vital rainforest home is left after years of vigorous deforestation. On top of this, tigers are cruelly poached to sell their body parts on the black market.

The Sumatran Tiger Trust is our own charity. Over the last 20 years, we have donated a total of over 1.5 million pounds to this cause, making us the largest fundraiser for Sumatran tigers in the world!

Way Kambas National Park is our longest established base, and is 1,300 km2 of flat lowland forest along Sumatra’s south-east coast. Here, we employ teams of rangers who protect the area from illegal logging, and plant tree nurseries to encourage the repopulation of not only tigers, but a wide range of animals who would otherwise be under threat of extinction. Our staff also patrol the area for signs of illegal poaching, and carry out environmental surveys to monitor the biodiversity of creatures in the area.

In exchange for providing our rangers with a base to use when they are travelling, we have provided local villages with schools, and paid for their teaching staff, as well as arranging for regular health care services. This boosts awareness for this near extinct tiger, and reduces local poaching levels.

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