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Wildlife Wednesday: Sumatran Tigers

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Wildlife Wednesday: Sumatran Tigers

Learn about the majestic Sumatran tiger - the smallest of the tiger subspecies, and among the most critically endangered.

Welcome to our first Wildlife Wednesday blog post! For this series, we’ll be highlighting one wild animal that’s either endangered or under threat, providing some facts about the animal as well as information on what we can do to protect them. First up: the Sumatran tiger.

Habitat: The forests and swamps of the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Sumatran tiger trivia

  • Male Sumatran tigers are, on average, eight feet long and weigh 265 pounds. Even still, these are considered the smallest subspecies of tigers.
  • Their smaller size enables them to move easily through the jungle, and their webbed feet allow them to swim with ease. They use their swimming skills to their advantage by running prey into the water.
  • They hunt at night, and can travel up to 20 miles every night while hunting.
  • At birth, Sumatran tiger cubs weigh about three pounds, and are completely blind. They aren’t fully independent from their mothers until they are two years old.
  • They can live for up to 15 years in the wild.

Why they’re threatened
Sumatran tigers are listed as Critically Endangered. There may be no more than 400 left in the wild. If this subspecies becomes extinct, it will be the fourth tiger subspecies to disappear completely from the wild.

Even though they’re protected under Indonesian law, there is an underground market for Sumatran tiger products and parts. However, there’s also another issue at play—deforestation. According to recent research by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and scientists at Virginia Tech, these tigers face an extra threat due to the loss of groundcover that is essential to their habitat. In many cases, land is being cleared to make room for plantations.

According to the environmental organization Greenpeace, companies such as Asian Pulp and Paper (APP) play a large role in the destruction of the Sumatran tiger’s habitat. One of Greenpeace’s recent campaigns asks Canadians to speak up and tell APP that they do not want their paper products while they continue to contribute to rainforest destruction.

How to help Sumatran tigers

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