Tiger | WWF Malaysia

© WWF-Malaysia / Mark Rayan

The Malayan Tiger


The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest of all the big cats in Asia, and stands as a powerful symbol among the different cultures that share its home. Over the past 100 years, global tiger numbers have dropped by 97% with three sub-species; the Bali (P. t. balica), Caspian (P. t. virgata), and Javan (P. t. sondaica) tigers becoming extinct — with a fourth not seen in the wild for over 25 years.

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.


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. 

TX2 Outcome

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.


© WWF-Malaysia
Malayan Tiger (Panthera Tigris Jacksoni)
© WWF-Malaysia/Shariff Mohamad

The Malayan Tiger

The Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni), subspecies unique to the Malay Peninsula, is one of the smallest tigers in the world. These majestic creatures can be mostly found in the forests of Pahang, Perak, Kelantan and Terengganu.

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.
© Gifbutton
Please help us save the Malayan Tiger
© Gifbutton
Tiger snared in Gerik, Perak in 2009.
© WWF-Malaysia / Ching Fong Lau


The tiger species has been threatened for many years throughout their range due to several reasons. Historically, they have just been hunted for sport, killed due to conflict with humans and poached for their body parts.  They are also threatened with habitat loss, fragmentation and poaching.

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.