What Are They Like?
Malayan tigers were only first identified as a subspecies in 2004. While tigers are the largest members of the cat family, the Malayan tiger is one of the smallest of the five subspecies. They measure 6.5-7.75 feet (2-2.37 meters) in length and weigh 220-265 pounds (100-120 kilograms). Even though there are only about 500 living Malayan tigers, they are one of the most common tiger subspecies.
Where Do They Live?
Malayan tigers live throughout much of peninsular Malaysia and the southern tip of Thailand. They live in small, moist forests and on abandoned agricultural land. Their population is extremely sparse because the animals they prey on are greatly reduced; scientists have observed only one to two tigers per 40 square miles (100 square kilometers).
How Are Babies Made?
A female tiger gives birth to three to five cubs in a litter after a 16-week gestation period. There is usually a dominant cub in each litter that may be either male or female. Cubs weigh about 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) at birth, and the cubs are dependent on their mother, who raises them alone, until they are about a year old.
What Do They Eat?
Tigers hunt at night and may eat up to 40 pounds (18 kilograms) of food per day. The Malayan tiger's known prey include wild boar, deer and sun bear, as well as smaller animals like monkeys, birds and fish. They will also attack rhinoceroses and elephants.
What Do They Do?
Tigers are usually solitary, though males and females as well as cubs have been seen resting and hunting together. Malayan tigers also enjoy spending time in the water.
How Concerned Should We Be?
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which keeps a "Red List" of species in danger worldwide, lists the Malayan tiger as "endangered." The population is small at 500 individuals, and is their habitat is threatened by logging, conversion of forests, and road development. Overhunting diminishes their prey. Farmers kill tigers in retaliation for livestock attacks. Live tigers are sold on the black market to zoos, and body parts are used to treat a variety of medical conditions.
What's Being Done?
Conservation efforts include monitoring of both Malayan tigers and their prey, as well as reducing conflict between humans and tigers.
3 New Malayan Tiger Cubs Debut at the Bronx Zoo
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