Conservation Story 5: Sumatran Tiger Family

Conservation Story 5: Sumatran Tiger Family 

2 Aug 2018 

The story of a Sumatran tiger family was captured on camera tigress mating again to seeing new additions to the family. Edwin Giesbers / WWF 

The smallest of tigers are found in Sumatra, Indonesia. No one could say for sure how many of them are left. It was estimated that around 400 wild tigers reside in Sumatra, but this population is dwindling because of illegal poaching and habitat destruction, exacerbated by the need for forests to be converted into palm oil plantations. 

In 2005, WWF field team discovered a family of tigers on camera trap in the area they are monitoring and patrolling. This news was shared only with a precious few who vowed to keep their presence a secret from poachers. The tigress mother was named Rima as a reference to “Harimau”; meaning tigers in the local language. 

We were delighted to find out two years later, Rima’s cubs have safely grown up to become sub-adults! Our team analyzed the stripe patterns of three young tigers caught on camera playing with one another to realize they were from this same family. 

A further dig into the extensive database also revealed Rima going off to mate with another tiger again after her children have learned to be independent. 

The mating was successful as Rima soon appeared on camera again, walking proudly with her four new cubs. We wish this family the very best!

Tiger Family in Sumatra Over the Years from WWF Tigers on Vimeo. 

“This video is a wonderful illustration that tigers will indeed “breed like cats” if they have protected habitat, enough prey and are left alone. To reach the TX2 goal of doubling wild tiger numbers, we need governments, businesses, local communities and everyone who cares about tigers to support tiger conservation efforts,” said Michael Baltzer, Leader of WWF Tigers