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Are Sumatran Tigers Endangered?

Lillee Rhose has been a cat parent and writer her entire life. Her heart's passion is to share her love for and knowledge of cats.

The Sumatran Tiger - Panthera Tigris Sumatra

Sumatran Tigers are Endangered, but who is responsible for their decline and what can society do to help stop this rapid decline?

The Sumatran is the smallest tiger of the species, and they are 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 there are three National Parks:

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.

Sumatra Rainforest


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

  • Rhinos
  • Orangutans
  • Sumatran Elephants
  • Distinct 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 disregard the protection laws in place to prevent poaching.
  2. The fear-based killing of tigers by humans.
  3. Wildlife Trade.
  4. Major threats by humans who destroy their habitat reducing the availability of prey
  5. 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 laws and why are poachers still slaughtering these beautiful cats?

Due to the high demand and price tag poachers slaughter tigers for the Fur Trade Fashion and Interior Trade industries as well as for commercial gain from tiger parts, bones, and fur, this trade remains strong in Asia and in other countries as well.

According to TRAFFIC, "Poaching for trade is responsible for over 78% of Sumatran tiger deaths, least forty animals per year. Resulting in the IUCN listing this tiger on their Red List of Threatened Species as endangered since 2008.

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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?

Decline of the Sumatran Tiger

WWF protects one-third of the tropical rainforest and wild animals, unfortunately, this is not enough. There needs to be stricter laws with severe penalties for killing a tiger.

Over the years there has been a decline in the population of these tigers.

  • In 1978 the population of the Sumatran tiger was 1,000 individual tigers
  • Twenty-six protected areas in 1985 and only had eight hundred 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!

Sumatran and The Rainforest

If tigers were no longer roaming the rainforest, what do you think would happen?

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

Coextinction: This would cause what is known as the Coextinction of the other animals. Which is "the loss or decline of a host species resulting in the loss or endangerment of another species that depends on it, potentially leading to cascading effects across trophic levels" (

And because there wouldn't be enough food to keep the overpopulation of the ecosystem the animals and their species would die off until all are extinct!

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 You Can Do to Help?

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 the trade markets are in it for money, commercial gain, and while they ignore the laws and regulations that are in place to protect these beautiful creatures.

It's a constant battle and people will 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 worth it!

Lillee Rhose

If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy the following:

Tigers of the World: Facts and Different Species

The Big Cats Series: The Siberian Tiger


Sumatran Tiger Species the Sumatran tiger

One Kind Planet - I love this site!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Donna Rayne


Donna Rayne (author) from Sparks, NV on November 07, 2019:

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!

Polo Thoughts from Pune on November 07, 2019:

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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