***Any views expressed on this blog are mine alone and are not endorsed by the Kansas City Zoo.
The Sumatran Tiger
I'm going to continue with animals that are specifically from Indonesia, for the next couple of posts. The big islands like Sumatra, Borneo, and Java, and even many of the smaller Indonesian islands have these wonderfully unique eco-systems, where unique species have adapted in isolation.
The Sumatran Tiger is one of those animals. They are the smallest of all the remaining tiger breeds, weighing only about 280lbs for males and 220 for females. They live in the dense forest of Sumatra. They have heavier stripes than other tigers species, which provides good camouflage.
It is estimated that there are less than 400 tigers left in Sumatra. When they are gone they will be like their neighbors the Javanese and Balinese tigers, extinct. They face the same threats as the orangutans, deforestation. But while orangutans are killed so that infants can be sold to the pet trade, tigers are killed for their pelts and other body parts which are used in traditional medicine.
The WWF has a great web site and really good information about Sumatran Tigers. http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/sumatrantiger/sumatrantiger.html. The good news on this site is that they "captured" pictures of a mother and two cubs on a camera trap in Sumatra! Yeah, maybe that means 402 tigers.
At the KC Zoo we have two Sumatran tigers, who are brothers Manis and Lanka. They are part of the Species Survival Program, but so far neither brother has been sent out for breeding. We don't have the facility to breed tigers at our zoo. The brothers get along pretty well, and like all cats are content to sleep the day away. They enjoy their enrichment activities like getting pinatas filled with meatballs, pumpkins on Halloween, bones, and cow hooves to chew on. They are truly beautiful boys.