Sumatran Tigers – Facts and Conservation
Sumatran Tiger is a subspecies which only can be find in Sumatra Island. It has a smallest body other than tigers in the world. It lengths only up to 2.5 meters. Therefore, their small size allow them to move in forests. The Appearance of Sumatran tigers is different from other species.
Sumatran tiger is a carnivores. It dominants as predator which eat meat. The size and strength allow them to hunt their prey effectively. Then Sumatran tiger have no enemies in their natural environment. Human is the only threat to the existence of Sumatran tiger. Human who hunt and eliminate make tiger includes as one of critically endangered species.
Sumatran tiger is one of six subspecies which still survive until now. The population is about 400-500 tigers mainly in national park of Sumatra Island. Sumatran tiger is an important predator to keep the balance of food chain. Especially in the forest of Sumatra Island. However, It unlike with other species which live in groups. Most of them are living alone, except during childbearing.
Sumatran tiger also classified as the largest cat species. The tiger is also known as species of mammal life. Basically, the measure od tiger as similar as lion. Meanwhile, it weights a little heavier than lion.
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The tigers are believed to be a descendants of ancient predator. It called as Miacids. Miacids lived in Cretaceous era approximately around 65 milllion years ago. Then, the tiger developed in eastern in China and Siberia. The two became separated. One of them moves to central Asia towards the western forest then southeast Asia and Indonesia. Meanwhile, the others move to India to the west.
Meanwhile, Sumatran tiger believed as species which alienated during sea levels are rising about 6,000 until 12,000 years ago. Then research proved that Sumatran tiger has unique genetic which different from the others. Therefore, It likely to develop into separate species with sustainable management.
Sumatran tiger is one of endemic animals in Indonesia. Endemic means natural habitat species which inhabit a particular area. They make the area becomes themselves and unlike other areas.
People of Sumatra island usually called Sumatran tiger as small cat. It because their height and weight are similar like cat.
The color of stripes
The main patterns of Sumatran tiger are mix colors between reddish to pale yellow. It include black and white camouflages as main feature. Each tiger is different as well as their both sides. The amount of camouflages are also different. Then the thickness tend to split or spotted.
The black line of their eye is symmetrical. Meanwhile, the appearance between tigers are different. Males usually have more prominent wrinkles than female tigers.
Sumatran tiger has the darkest color among tigers. Meanwhile, the stripes of this tiger are thinner than others. The black patterns is width while distance among them sometimes attached tightly. Sumatran tiger patterns are adaption of camouflage in their natural habitat.
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Shape of face
Sumatran tiger has a short and wide nose. It contrast to the Javanese and Balinese tiger which has a long and narrow nose. Then, the forehead of Sumatran tiger is generally flat, unlike the other tigers which are curved.
Unlike others, Sumatran tiger has a lot of beard and mane on their face, especially male tigers. Meanwhile, there is a membrane between their fingers. It helps to makes tiger swim quickly. Therefore, It easy to corner their prey into the water.
One of unique characteristic of Sumatran tiger is their forehead. It shapes like Chinese word “Wang” which means King. Then, It has a strong teeth and ability to run fast as well as jump high.
Sumatran tiger also has white spots on the back of their ears. It called “Eye Point” or “Point of Predators”. These spots are used as false eye. It also for makes them look bigger while predators approach from behind. It usually helps for female tigers especially to keep their child safe.
There are differences between male and female Sumatran tigers.
- Male tiger – Sumatran tiger males have an average length of 92 inches. It from head to tail about 250 cm long. Their weight up to 300 pounds or 140 kg. Meanwhile, the height of an adult male can reach 60 cm.
- Female tiger – Sumatran tiger females have an average length of 78 inches. It reaches 198 cm tall. Meanwhile, their weight is up to 200 pound or 91 kg. Its fur changes color when giving birth.
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Here is the data of Sumatran tiger classification.
|Species||Phantera Tigris Sumatrae|
Reproduction of Female Sumatran Tiger
Female Sumatran tiger are breeding anytime. Their period of gestation is about 103 until 110 days. Tigers give a birth up to two or three child at once. Then the new baby born tiger open their eyes after 10 days of day birth.
The children only drink their mother’s milk in the first eight weeks. Meanwhile, They can hunt themselves at the age of 18 months. Female Sumatran tiger led their child by themselves at 2 years old. Therefore, Sumatra tigers can live for 15 years in the wild forest. Moreover, It last until 20 years depend on their capability.
Reproduction of female Sumatran Tiger is under controlled by breeder. It means that mix and separate between male and female tiger are based on breeder decision. However, there is no tiger lives forever with one pair. It is based on several reasons include restrictions of population growth. It purposes to avoid inbreeding as a result of a very small population of Sumatran tigers.
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The Estrus Cycle
Generally, the female Sumatran tigers entered estrus cycle around 30-40 days with a long estrus between four until eight days. At the time, the estrus of female Sumatran tigers can perform up to 40 times of copulation.
Therefore, the marriage between tigers will always be monitored until male and female tigers transferred to a group which has unrelated blood. Nowadays, It still continuously to increases the population by takes into a diversity of genetic variation.
The aspect of reproduction is not an issue for group of tigers. Meanwhile, if the breeding population has reached maximum level, several problems related to reproduction will arise. It mainly how to decide either tigers are allowed to actively reproduce.
Moreover, Sumatran tiger has a high chance of giving birth throughout the year. However, the optimum potential of tigers based on capability terms has not been utilized. The management still has problem between in order to avoid marriage and reduce the cost of care. Therefore, the high rate of deaths under the age still need to get concern.
Tigers usually live solitary except for females and children. Meanwhile, they are not anti-social. Male tiger will giggling around with female tiger during marriage session. There are also captured together with their children. Unlike most other types of cats, tigers easily enter the water. During the summer, they will take a dip in a lake or pond. Therefore, Sumatran tiger can swim as far as eight kilometers.
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Time of Hunting
Tiger is hunting generally between early morning and late afternoon. However, in some cases tiger sometimes hunt in a day. The prey of tigers are animals in their habitat. It consists of various types like deer, pigs, buffalo, and bison.
Some tigers also hunt the children of elephants and rhinos as their prey. As well as other small animals include monkey, reptiles, bird, and fishes. Meanwhile, tiger sometimes also can target a leopard and their own species. It includes bear which has a weight up to 170 kg.
Tiger is usually pounce their large prey by stalking from behind. Then after target is locked, they jump into their prey. When catch and kill the prey, tiger always has their main target. It always around the neck. Meanwhile, the portion of their bite depend on several factors. It include body size, the way their pounce, and the resistance movement of animal.
Meanwhile, there are other characteristic of the way tiger pounce their prey. Tiger is gripping the neck of its prey after knocked them down. It continuously grip until the prey dies. It used for protect tiger from horns and legs of their prey and prevent erection of their prey. Tiger prefers to bite the back of the neck. As close as possible to the skull then killed by breaking the spine.
Moreover, Tigers usually demonstrate their strength while dragging a heavy prey. It brought to the shelter area. Meanwhile, Sumatra tiger can eat around 18 to 35 kg of meat in one meal.
Then usually, the large prey captured in one week. It is estimated with frequency of murder by female Sumatran tiger which has no children is once during 8-8,5 days.
The Sumatran tiger is only found on the island of Sumatra island. This big cat was able to live anywhere. It between lowland forests to mountain forests. They live in many wild places. There are 400 Sumatran tiger who lives in nature reserves and national parks. Meanwhile, the rest are scattered in other areas were cleared for agriculture. Therefore, It approximately 250 tails are kept in zoos around the world.
Meanwhile, The Sumatran tiger faces the threat of losing their habitat due to distribution area. It areas include blocks of lowland forests, peat lands, and rain forest. As well as encroachment by logging and road building. Therefore, they often go closer with humans and killed or arrested if encounters with humans.
Tiger basically not prey on humans unless their habitat is disturbed, elderly, sick or injured. Some victims occurred as a reaction to defend themselves. Then human body becomes their food. Human is easily target than animals as a prey. Somehow, Tigers prey on humans may teach their children that humans are prey. However, a tiger who protect her child is not include as indication.
Riau province is home for 1/3 of the entire Sumatran tiger population. Even though they are already under protected, the existence of Sumatran tiger has declined dramatically. It up to 70 percents in last quarter of century. Moreover, In Riau, there are only the remaining 192 tigers currently estimated.
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There are type of location which usually chosen by Sumatran tigers
|1||Tropical rain forest||9||Muddy beaches|
|3||Secondary forest||11||Coastal brackrish|
|4||Logged forest||12||Fresh water beaches|
|6||open forest||14||Flat area near river|
|8||Low or Highlands||16||Peat forest|
In 2016. The result of research said that over five years, Six of the 33 habitats of Sumatran tigers are no longer detectable. The habitats include Tanah Karo, Parmonangan, Maninjau, Kaba, Betabuh, and Soa hills. There are undetectable places where the tiger lives.
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Sumatran tigers choose their food depends on where they live and amount of prey. As the primary predator in the food chain, Tigers maintain the population of wild prey under their control. So, the balance between prey and vegetation can be maintained.
Tiger has a very sharp sight and hearing. It claimed themselves as efficient hunter. They hunt at night and eat anything that can be captured.
The preys of tigers commonly wild animals. Mostly wild bears and deer. Sometimes poultry and fishes. Orangutans also become their prey. However, Orangutans rarely spent time at ground level. Therefore, It difficult for tiger captures them. Sumatran tigers also known as Durian mania.
Sumatran tigers are on the edge of extinction. It because their habitats are uncontrolled, The preys for tigers are no longer exist, and illegal hunting. In 2008, a report released by TRAFFIC. It is a program of the WWF (World Widelife Fund) and the World Conservation Agencies called IUCN. Both were monitored illegal trade.
In fact, they found illegal market was flourishing and became open domestic markets in Sumatra. They sold body parts of tigers.
The hunt for commercial purposes and loss of habitat are the main concern of the tiger’s life. The tigers was shot or poisoned cause considered as pests and for earn money. Hunters aimed skin and flesh of tigers. However, Main factor of hunters are the high prices of tiger skin. It causes the reduce of Sumatran tigers.
Sumatran tigers has a bone which contain high nutrition. Therefore, China and Korea uses their bone as traditional medicine. However, It has a big impacts to habitat of the tigers. It loss rapidly due to growth and the spread of human population. So, tiger population increasingly isolated in a few small areas.
In 2013, There are six to eight Sumatran tigers who live in Sumatra. Meanwhile, in early 2017, It detects only couples of tigers who still exists. However, for three years, there are 58 of Sumatran tigers was trade.
There are threats of Sumatran tigers existence, such as:
A. Conflict between Human and Tigers
Human-tiger conflict has conducted since early seventies. At that time, it was a high population growth along with economic led the increased of land use. Conversion of forest lands for human needs became unavoidable. Then loss of their natural habitat raises a potential conflict between human and tiger.
Based on information, Between 1978 to 1997, There were 146 people died and 30 people injured. Meanwhile, in 1995 to 2008, Sumatra island has recorded at least 100 conflicts occurred.
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B. The Hunting
Sumatran tiger hunting activity still ongoing until now. Despite there are a prohibition for the hunters will be resolute sanctions and penalties. However, the high interest to trade each part of tiger’s body makes hunting tigers still difficult to overcomes. The government should be able to apply tough sanctions against the hunter.
The economy factors become main reason people trade Sumatran tigers. Even lately, in Cyberspace area, there are companies or person which advertise each part of tiger’s body with complete prices.
C. Deforestation and Degradation
The huge deforestation and degradation indirectly posed a threat to biodiversity. It will lead the loss of forest or break into small parts of forests. Agriculture, mining, expansion, and transmigration. Those are threat.
D. The Hunt of the Prey
the main food in the forest constantly decreasing in several years. Deer, Pigs, monkeys, are the main prey of tiger becomes the target for hunting. Poachers often enter conservation area and other forest area. It is the biggest threat to the conservation of protected animals.
The Efforts of Sumatran Tiger Conservation
There are several efforts for Sumatran tiger conservation, both from government and WWF.
Trading tiger parts in Indonesia is a criminal offense for violating Law No. 5 of 1990 on Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystems. Every person is prohibited to trade, store, or possess parts of protected animals. It includes law of make a goods from the parts of these animals or removing into other places in Indonesia.
Violators of these provisions may be subject to criminal in the form of a maximum of five years imprisonment and fine up to 100 million.
The preserve of tiger existence through Sumatran tiger conservation is not merely aim only for the tiger. It also protects the other species because between them are interconnected. So in other words, to protect this species indirectly protect other animals.
Several attempts to maintain the sustainability of the Sumatran tiger are as follows:
- Restoring and increase the population of tigers and their landscapes. In-situ conservation effort is the main program Sumatran tiger conservation by restoring populations of tigers and their natural habitats.
- Improving the infrastructure and the capacity of relevant agencies. It monitoring and evaluation the conservation of the Sumatran tiger and its prey species.
- Build networking and communications infrastructure. It creates a caring community groups and responsible for the conservation of Sumatran tigers. Sumatran tiger conservation is the responsibility of all parties. Therefore, it should be enlisted in networking and good communication among all parties.
- Build ex-situ conservation programs that are beneficial in harmony with the Sumatran tiger conservation . Especially efforts in the wild life of Sumatran tigers. Ex-situ conservation is one alternative for conserving tigers. However, the necessary regulations government standards need to be formulated ex-situ conservation to complete ethical standards and welfare for the Sumatran tiger.
- Protect intensively habitats of Sumatran tiger which lives in conservation areas.
- Expand conservation area that serves as a habitat for the Sumatran tiger. It extents to accommodate the tiger population in conditions of healthy and independent.
- Integrated management on the Sumatran tiger habitat contained in the outer conservation areas. Therefore, the exploitation of natural resources for economic and conservation interests can work well.
- Protect Sumatran tiger habitat in areas used as a plantation. It important areas for tigers without reducing and inhibiting the production goals of forest.
- Development tiger protection unit consisting of forest police. It intensively patrolling the protection of tigers, prey and habitat.
- Keep monitoring of Sumatran tiger population and its prey in the long term.
- Develop the arrangement of distribution and translocation. In case if ecological aspect has not been possible to implement.
Humans are given the responsibility for keeping the earth. Then They should care for the earth and utilize the existing natural resources as well as possible and a full sense of responsibility. Sumatran tiger conservation can not be separated from human action irresponsible.
Therefore, conservation efforts must remaining consistent. However, most importantly is the support of all stakeholders. They help the implementation of conservation. So the existence of tigers as a species endemic to the island of Sumatra is maintained continuity.
- WWF (Worldwide Fund)
WWF Indonesia in cooperation with the Government of Indonesia. It takes concern of threaten tiger habitat industry. Along with conservation organizations and local communities to save Sumatran tigers from extinction.
In 2004, the Indonesian government declared the region an important, Tesso Nilo, a National Park to ensure a secure future for the existence of the Sumatran Tiger. In 2010, the Tiger Summit in St. Petersburg, Indonesia and 12 other countries that protect tigers committed to an ambitious goal of species conservation.
Meanwhile, WWF is currently conducting groundbreaking research on Sumatran tigers in Central Sumatra. It using camera traps to estimate population numbers, habitat and distribution to identify wildlife corridors in need of protection. Then, WWF also fielded anti-poaching patrols and units that work to reduce human-tiger conflict in local communities.
The Ethical of Meeting Endangered Animal
There are rural communities live close to the forests. They are collect forest goods and sometimes meet the tigers. tiger is animal which never bother humans. Nevertheless, there have been several time while tigers interfere and targeting human as their prey. It caused by some cases.
Tiger is the king of forest. They have a good instinct. People assumed that tiger is a friendly animal with a warm heart. They appreciate humans although humans are very destructive with enter forest which is their house. Therefore, if Humans obey the rules and ethical of jungle, tiger will not attack you.
Keep dodge to meet a tiger, because there are several tigers in unhealthy condition. It likes less clear vision, breathing unwell, sore gums or teeth exposed sharp bone when prey, exposed horn, was bitten by a venomous animal. Therefore, if the tiger is unstable , they can pounce on humans.
A. Ethics that must obeyed in the jungle
It recommends for those who want to enter forest and get to know the tiger in order to avoid things that are not desirable.
- Do not enter the forest when the light rain in any hour. Tigers will wake up and immediately look for prey. Then, it easier to get the prey, because the color is disguised by drizzling rain and sunlight.
- Do not enter forest with inhabited by tigers. If you already in front of the forest, enter during between the hours of 8 am to 3 pm or when the sun was shining brightly. At that time, tiger are resting or sleeping.
- Do not forget the useful sticky wood. . Take a wooden stick up to two meters.
- Do not cross the forest alone. It recommend at least bring a dog as a companion. Dog will know tigers position through their sniff. . If the dog always near legs and tail curved down, it sign as the tiger is around.
- . Do not be silent, speak together with your friends, As well as bang the trunk so tiger avoid your position.
- Avoid the undergrowth and foliage of collapsed a large tree. The tiger often hide behind it.
- Do not approach a large stone cave. Tigers often rest inside to avoid the heat or rain.
- Do not use bright color of cloth. It will invite the attention of tiger.
- Do not wear perfume because it can provoke tiger to approach. The perfume will disguise your true body odor. Tiger recognizes human body odor and had avoided to meet except for a few things.
- Do not put a large leaf that has been dried. It can obscure the view of tigers, will look at you like a deer. If forced, use leaves that are still green.
- Do not put anything goods, hats, jackets or clothes, bags and food supplies over the felled tree stump. It attracts the attention of the tiger from far to near.
- Do not throw your food waste such as leftover fish bones, chicken or meat carelessly. The smell can invite a tiger to come closer. So wrap tightly with leaves and tuck under dried leaves and do not linger at your place of rest eat.
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B. Situation you must know
Meanwhile, before enter the forest, There are situation which need to immediately escape.
- When you find the animal waste is grayish piled 5 to 10 pieces, dried and mixed with animal fur, amounting to toe and along the fingers, it is a tiger droppings. It a sign of tiger still wandering around close.
- Recognize the smell of tiger. It smell fishy. If you smell in a way of the forest, immediately move away or change the way you are and do not run. Stay alert to the movements and occasionally look back. The color of tiger fur is very subtle to the forest. Therefore, if you see a faint color of white patches in the hedges it definitely a tiger color.
- Focus on the the base of the trunk, because the tiger is always scratching her nails in rod of tree. The new scratching tiger usually still wet and sap. It up above 20 cm until two meters height.
- . Recognize nail scratch marks on the ground, because the tiger often scratching nails on the ground. It uses for marks their region. The new still marked by the release of sap. It from the roots off by scratching the tiger.
- When walking in soft ground or mud, recognize the footprints of tigers . The width is near 10 to 20 cm. If still wet, or water in the trail are still murky, tiger still move around you.
- Avoid walking along the river during the dry season. Tiger usually stalking its prey not far from the river. Tiger prey animals need water to drink in the dry season.
- Keep eyes for the greatest rock at the head of a small river in the forest. If the water looks murky when there was no rain, tigers or other animals are near river.
C. Recognize the tiger position
There are situation which help you recognize the tiger position. You must know other animals reaction through tiger existence.
- When flies swarming in one place or the sound of buzzing wing. It is a sign of tiger prey left. Tiger never far away from the rest of the prey. Tigers will spend their prey, even to lick the leaves traces of blood prey. This place is very dangerous. Tiger often very afraid the rest of the prey was taken, and will secure the area to attack. Therefore, Tiger usually hides the rest prey under branches or small trees.
- If you hear the sound of squirrel continuously and head was pointing down. It is a sign of tiger underneath the squirrel.
- The sound of birds around. It was also a sign of a tiger around them.
- If you hear noise from other primates sounded scared at night, it was a sign of the tiger are below. If daytime looks gibbons and macaques gathered in one big tree, it was a sign tiger are stalking them. Tigers aim one of them to be their prey.
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Then, there are alert if you meet some cases in below:
- If you find the injured animals such as deer, wild pigs or other animals, flee away. There is a possibility the wound was former tiger jaws. Tigers will always follow their prey. Even though must enter the human houses.
- If meet the dead animals, animals with visible bite marks , immediately get away from this place. Do not run, because it can make you fall. Tigers will be interested to see you run.
- If meet the tiger’s child, do not try to approach or take them home.The child will cry out loud, his voice will be heard by a tiger as far as 1 km, the sound is a sign asking for help to the parent or other tigers.
- In case you meet the tiger, do not run because the tiger would be difficult to identify whether an animal or human. Focus on your movement.
- Do not climb a tree when you meet a tiger. It causes the tiger will look at you like an animal.
- Do not plunge into the water, the tiger is a very powerful swimmer, it will make you in a very dangerous position.
- If you see a tiger walked across in front of you or walk away, beware because usually the tiger would pretend to go, then will play behind a bush on the side of the back or side of your left.
The habitat of Sumatran tigers are increasingly driven by the destruction of forests. However, natural forest is home for animals. Therefore, We must keep this Sumatran tigers to balance between nature and human life.