Bali Tiger

(Extinct: 1937)

The only known photograph of a Bali tiger

Background

Originally, there were eight subspecies of tiger, however, only five of these subspecies still exist today; the Siberian (Amur) tiger, Indochinese tiger, Bengal tiger, South China tiger and Sumatran tiger. The Bali tiger, Caspian tiger and Javan tiger are the three subspecies that are currently extinct. Of these subspecies, the Bali tiger was physically the smallest, and also the first to go extinct. It was only found on the small island of Bali near Malaysia and the Philippines in the Indian Ocean. Bali has an area of approximately 2,175 square miles, which is only slightly larger than Rhode Island, so the original population of these animals was not thought to be very large.

When humans began to inhabit the island, they slowly deforested and populated the tiger's natural habitat. Hunting also played a large role in their extinction. The last individual was shot by a hunter sometime in 1937.


Why was the Bali tiger vulnerable to extinction?

There are several reasons why this particular species was very susceptible to extinction. First of all, their population was originally small, so removing a small amount of individuals is much more devastating than if that same number was removed from a larger population. Also, these tigers lived on an island, which drastically increases their chance of extinction. When humans began to populate the island of Bali, the tiger’s didn’t have anywhere to move to, they were trapped.

Tigers also have both aesthetic and commercial value. Killing tigers and selling their parts is a very lucrative business. Here are a few common tiger products:

Bones $600/lb
Meat $32-$40/lb
Blood $80/bottle
Tail $240 each
Head $600 each
Tongue $60 each
Penis $2,400 each
Public Tiger Slaughter $12,000

The Bali tiger was also a physically large animal, which can lead to several problems. First of all, this makes it much harder for them to hide from humans. Also, large animals require more land and resources in order to survive. Each individual tiger must maintain a large territory in order to obtain enough resources to survive. Most tigers have a territory of about 10-30 square miles each. Because the Bali tiger was smaller than the subspecies that exist today, its territory was probably slightly smaller, but this still does not allow for a very large population to survive on the small island.

Tigers also have a slow reproductive capacity. Breeding takes place for 20-30 days. Once impregnated, the gestation period is approximately 90 days. The average female tiger gives birth to only 2-3 cubs, and most of the cubs born will most likely fall victim to predation. The cubs will stay with their mother for about two years, so this means that females can only breed roughly every two and a half years.

Finally, tigers are also solitary animals. Living in a group can provide several benefits to the individual. For example, group hunting can provide larger and more frequent kills, and groups are also a large factor in preventing predation. If tigers lived in large groups, it would make hunting them much more dangerous. Also, fewer cubs would fall victim to predation. When is comes time to hunt, the mother has no choice but to leave her cubs, this is when most of them are preyed upon. If they were living in a group, there would be other individuals to care for the cubs when their mother was gone.

HOME (ABSTRACT)

GENERAL BACKGROUND ON INDONESIA'S SUSCEPTIBILITY

ASIAN ELEPHANT

DISTRIBUTIONS OF THE MEGAFAUNA: 1900 VS 2001

WHY DO WE CARE?

STOP THE MADNESS

REFERENCES

GEOGRAPHY 361 HOMEPAGE

 

"Only when the rivers run dry, the trees are all gone and the animals are all dead will humans realize that we can't eat money..." Unknown.