Javan tiger photographed by Andries Hoogerwerf in Ujung Kulon National Park, 1938
|Range||Indonesian island of Java.|
Panthera tigris sondaica
The Javan tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica) is an extinct Tiger subspecies that inhabited the Indonesian island of Java until the mid-1970s. It was one of the three subspecies limited to islands.
Javan tigers were very small compared to other subspecies of the Asian mainland, but larger in size than Bali Tiger. Males weighed between 100 and 140 kg (220 and 310 lbs) on average with a body length of 200 to 245 cm (79 to 96 in). Females were smaller than males and weighed between 75 and 115 kg (170 and 250 lb) on average. They usually had long and thin stripes, which were slightly more numerous than of the Sumatran Tiger. Their nose was long and narrow, occipital plane remarkably narrow and carnassials relatively long. Based on these cranial differences, the Javan tiger was proposed to be assigned to a distinct species, Panthera sondaica. Classically it is considered to be a subspecies of tiger Panthera tigris.
The smaller body size of Javan tigers is attributed to Bergmann’s rule and the size of the available prey species in Java, which are smaller than the cervid and bovid species distributed on the Asian mainland. However, the diameter of their tracks are larger than of Bengal Tiger in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal.
Habitat and Ecology
At the end of the 18th century, tigers inhabited most of Java. Around 1850, the people living in the rural areas still considered them a plague. Until 1940, tigers had retreated to remote mountainous and forested areas. Around 1970, the only known tigers lived in the region of Mount Betiri, with an altitude of 1,192 m (3,911 ft) the highest mountain in Java's southeast, which had not been settled due to the rugged and slopy terrain. In 1972, the 500 km2 (190 sq mi) area was gazetted as wildlife reserve. The last tigers were sighted there in 1976.
They preyed on Javan rusa, Banteng, and wild boar, less often on water fowl and reptiles. Nothing is known about their gestation perio, or life span in the wild and in captivity. Up to World War II, Javan tigers were kept in some Indonesian zoos, but these were closed down during the war. After the war, they were so rare already that it was easier to obtain Sumatran tigers.
In 1976, the Javan Tiger was last sighted in Meru Betiri National Park. In 2008, a park ranger saw a Javan Tiger heading to the forest.