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Sumatran tiger

Panthera tigris sumatrae

Sumatran tiger

Three of the nine sub-species of tigers have become extinct in the last 100 years. The loss of habitat on the island of Sumatra, by deforestation, has led to an increase in conflict with man for the Sumatran tiger.

This powerful island predator is also illegally hunted, to fuel the trade in tiger body parts for Chinese medicine. The Sumatran tiger is the smallest of the tiger sub-species still existing today. It has narrower stripes than other tiger sub-species and has a hairier head. It is a very good swimmer, aided by its webbed toes. They are found in any kind of habitat with dense vegetative cover, an adequate supply of prey and a reliable source of water. There are fewer than 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.

Belfast Zoo is home to two Sumatran tiger. Kabus, the male, was born in Chessington Zoo in the UK and is the larger of the two. He is quite shy and reserved compared to his mate Kinabalu. Kinabalu, often called ‘Kina’ by her keepers, is a very sociable tiger and loves to play. She was born in Fuengirola Zoo in Spain.

Forest and Rainforest

Diet - Carnivore
Tigers hunt mainly deer and wild pigs but they also attack smaller prey.

Sumatran tigers can measure up to 2.1 metres and weigh up to 150 kilograms.

Sumatran tigers are found in a variety of habitats, mostly forests, on the islands of Sumatra in Indonesia.

Conservation status
The IUCN believes the Sumatran tiger is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. They are listed under Appendix I of CITES.

Threats to tigers include the destruction of their habitat, being hunted for their skins and for the live animal trade, their use in traditional medicines and persecution as pests.

Current population
There is thought to be possibly fewer than 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild. The South China tiger is already thought to be extinct in the wild.

Zoo population
There is a European Breeding Programme for Sumatran tigers. In zoos worldwide there are approximately 270 Sumatran tigers.

Key to acronyms

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

CITES - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

Related links

Our other big cats