The Malayan Tiger
There are currently only six remaining living sub-species of tiger in the world:
Amur tiger (P. t. altaica)
Bengal tiger (P. t. tigris)
Indo-Chinese tiger (P. t. corbetti)
Malayan tiger (P. t. jacksoni)
South China tiger (P. t. amoyensis)
Sumatran tiger (P. t. sumatrae)
Tigers are generally a large species with average measurements of six to eight feet and can weigh up to 660 pounds. They are equipped with short heavily muscled forelegs, strong teeth and long, sharp, retractable claws, which makes them the ultimate predator. The mark of the Chinese character Wang (meaning king) sits on their forehead.
They are predominately solitary except for maternal bonding and during mating, tigers occupy territories that they defend against same-sex intruders. These carnivorous mammals instinctively avoid human beings and will only attack people if they are provoked, injured or unable to hunt for their usual food.
Did You Know?
A tigers’ stripes are like finger prints; no two tigers have the same stripe pattern. A tiger's night vision is six times better than that of humans.
TX2 : DOUBLING THE NUMBER OF TIGERS
At the Tiger Summit in St. Petersburg (2010), the 13 tiger range countries committed to the most ambitious and visionary species conservation goal ever set: TX2 – to double wild tiger numbers by 2022, the next year of the tiger.
WWF-Malaysia has a long history of tiger conservation and is proud to be an essential part of TX2 through its Malayan Tiger Conservation Project.
Wild tiger numbers have increased for the first time globally! As of April 2016, there are now estimated to be 3890 tigers in the wild, an increase from 3200 back in 2010.
The Malayan Tiger
Based on the National Tiger Action Plan for Malaysia, the three identified priority areas for tigers in Peninsular Malaysia are the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex, Taman Negara and the Endau-Rompin Forest Complex.
Malaysia was estimated to have 3,000 tigers back in the 1950’s but unfortunately, its numbers have seen a drastic drop to just 250 – 340 individuals in just over half a century!
The Malayan tiger is currently listed in the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered, the Malaysia’s Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 as a Totally Protected Species and as a species threatened with extinction in Appendix I of CITES.
Its alarming state emphasizes the need to achieve the set Tx2 goal, which is to double the total number of tigers in the wild by the next year of the tiger.
With the demand for tiger parts continually rising, the most urgent and critical threat to the Malayan tiger is poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. The rising affluence of Asian countries, especially China, has also made tiger derivatives affordable to a wider market, thus increasing the demand of this commodity.
Habitat loss due to deforestation and fragmentation also contribute to their population decline. These smaller populations are more prone to local extinction due to poaching pressures as well as inbreeding, which affect their genetic viability.
Overhunting the tigers’ main prey can also affect the population of tigers in the forest. The more prey hunted, the lesser the food for the tigers, causing them to have smaller and insufficient food intakes that would eventually lead to a drop in the population size.