Skip to main content

Sumatran tigers are territorial animals, meaning they have a fixed living area that they defend against other tigers. Within this territory, they have sufficient prey to hunt, and the size of the territory depends on the abundance of prey animals. To mark their territory, tigers urinate on trees and rocks at the borders. Other tigers can smell this and know they should keep away. The territories of male tigers often overlap with those of several females, allowing them to mate with multiple females.

Panthera tigris sumatrae

15 years


60 centimeters


2,1 – 2,5 meters


♀ 75 – 110 kg

♂ 100 – 140 kg

Food preferenceMeat
Pregnancy3,5 months
Age at adulthood3 - 4 years for females, 4 - 8 for males
Amount of offspring1 to 6 cubs
NoteLess than 400
Endangered level
Critically Endangered

In the wild, there are currently fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left. They live in areas that are becoming increasingly smaller due to the expansion of cities and agriculture. This also leads to tigers coming into contact with humans more frequently. In the absence of prey, tigers sometimes attack livestock. To protect themselves and their livestock, the Sumatran population often shoots tigers. Additionally, tigers are heavily hunted for their claws, skins, and bones, which some people, mistakenly, believe have medicinal powers. All these dangers have resulted in this large feline being now severely endangered.

Tigers are very important to their environment because they are at the top of the food chain. By preying on large herbivores, they ensure a healthy balance between animals and plants in their territories. Since tigers live in large territories, protecting a tiger's habitat has an additional benefit: all other animals and plants in those territories are also protected. Such a species is often referred to as an 'umbrella species': metaphorically holding an umbrella over other forms of life to shield them from human threats.

As the name suggests, Sumatran tigers are found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. They live in tropical rainforests and high grasslands. Today, their habitat is severely fragmented, meaning they exist in areas that are not connected to each other. As a result, tigers from different regions cannot reach one another.

The tiger enclosure in Diergaarde Blijdorp consists of two outdoor areas and two indoor areas, which can be interconnected. If there are two tigers, they usually stay separate: after all, they also live solitarily in the wild. The bamboo on the edges of the enclosure provides plenty of hiding spots, so they're not always visible. Diergaarde Blijdorp participates in the European population management program to ensure a healthy reserve population in zoos.