From: Population Matters
Published June 30, 2013 07:33 AM

Humans pushing Sumatran Tigers to extinction

A subspecies of tigers called the Sumatran Tiger is nearly extinct due to human involvement in its habitat, according to a new research paper. These tigers are found exclusively on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and only 400 of them live today.

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According to researchers from Virginia Tech and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the number of existing Sumatran tigers is much lower than the current estimate. Their study showed that a high level of human activity in this region has led to a decline in the tiger population.

The WWF says that deforestation and poaching is pushing the rare Sumatran tigers towards extinction, just like its cousins, Javan and Balinese tigers that are now extinct.

Sumatran tigers have heavy black stripes on orange coats and are extremely elusive, with just one tiger living in 40 square miles. In the study, researchers compared tiger density in various forests in the region and even a previously unstudied peat land.

"Getting evidence of the tigers' presence was difficult," Marcella Kelly, associate professor of wildlife in the College of Natural Resources and Environment. "It took an average of 590 days for camera traps to get an image of each individual tiger recorded."

Fewer tigers were found in the central Sumatran region despite the area being abundant with its prey, which is probably due to extensive human activity in the region, researchers said.

Sumatran tiger photo via Shutterstock.

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