Majestic Sumatran tiger enjoys a rest in the sunshine

Sumatran tigers are an endangered species that were estimated to be less than 700 in number in 2008. Sadly, this population was declining and is almost certainly lower today. It is one of the smallest tigers, topping the scale at 140kg (310lbs). It has distinctive striping and differences in skull size when compared with other tigers. This beautiful big cat was lazing on the edge of the forested area, soaking up some sunshine. Fearless, these tigers have no predators, except other tigers and humans. Their decline has been caused by habitat loss and hunting. These tigers shy away from areas that are frequented by humans, or areas where this is encroachment due to construction. Yet fear, misunderstanding, and black market demand for skins and teeth continue to drive the illegal poaching that threatens them. This tiger eventually retired to a shaded area under some fallen timbers. It has a small cave that it treats as its den. As the tiger watches its surroundings, there can be no doubt about the look in its eyes that it is ready to spring into action if an opportunity for food comes along. Conservation agencies around the world have declared the Sumatran tiger decline a crisis. Conservation efforts and enforcement efforts are being funded to reduce poaching and reduce the killing of these tigers by farmers who feel the need to protect their livestock. Forest ranger patrols have put pressure on the poachers and the rangers continue to remove snare traps. It is difficult to know if the efforts will be enough to save the species. Losing these beautiful animals forever would be beyond tragic.