Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae)
Of the eight tiger subspecies, the Sumatran tiger is the smallest, weighing half as much as the Bengal tiger. Its size is a distinct advantage in the island’s dense tropical jungles. Thick, closely placed stripes—the darkest coloration of any tiger—blur the tiger’s outline, which helps camouflage it as it waits to ambush its prey. Extra-long whiskers act as sensors in the dense foliage.
The Sumatran tiger may soon disappear from the wild. Its value as a big game trophy and reputation as a threat to domestic livestock have led to relentless hunting, trapping, and poisoning of this legendary symbol of Asia. Three subspecies of tiger are already gone. Its numbers have been cut to some 400 to 500 individuals.