This male Sumatran tiger is just a year old and is a resident at the Wildlife Hertiage Foundation site in Kent. The charity plays an integral part in the worldwide breeding programme for endangered big cats, please visit their website and offer your support www.whf.org.uk
Sumatran tigers are the smallest and darkest of the tiger sub-species. They have the most stripes proportionally and a pronounced “beard” around the face, advantageous when traversing thick undergrowth and vegetation. They are excellent swimmers, have semi-webbed feet to aid in swimming and are able to swim between the islands that make up Sumatra. One reason for the very rich tawny colour of the Sumatran tiger is due to the waterproof oils in the skin.
400 – 500 mature individuals in 1998, the estimate was closer to 300 in 2004 and the true figure could be lower than 200 (between 1998 and 2002 an average of 51 Sumatran tigers per year were killed; 76% poached for commercial trade, and 15% through human-related conflict) at that rate of decline Panthera tigris sumatrae could be extinct in the wild by 2012!