Friday, August 29, 2008

Sumatran Tiger

Sumatran Tiger

The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is a subspecies of tiger found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The wild population is estimated at between 400 and 500 animals, occurring predominantly in the island's national parks. Recent genetic testing has revealed the presence of unique genetic markers, which isolate Sumatran tigers from all mainland subspecies.

The Sumatran tiger is the smallest of all still existing tiger subspecies. Male Sumatran tigers average 234 cm (7 feet, 8 inches) in length from head to tail and weigh about 136 kg (300 pounds). Females average 198 cm (6 feet, 6 inches) in length and weigh about 91 kg (200 pounds). Its stripes are narrower than other subspecies of tigers' stripes, and it has a more bearded and maned appearance, especially the males. Its small size makes it easier to move through the jungle. It has webbing between its toes that, when spread, makes Sumatran tigers very fast swimmers. It has been known to drive hoofed prey into the water, especially if the prey animal is a slow swimmer.

Sumatran Tigers commonly prey on larger ungulates, like wild boar, tapir and deer, and sometimes also smaller animals, like fowl, and fish. Orangutans could be prey, but since they spend a minimal amount of time on the ground, tigers rarely catch one.