As its name implies, the Malayan Tiger’s natural habitat is in the Malayan Peninsula of Southeast Asia, particularly in the southern and central parts of this beautiful country. Its scientific name is Panthera tigris jacksoni, with the exception of within Malay, in which it is called Panthera tigris malayensis. The difference in its scientific names is due to the country of its origin’s wanting to be included in its official name. Despite its being one of the most prolific of the tiger subspecies, the Malayan Tiger is still endangered.
The Malayan Tiger is one of the smallest tigers of all of the subspecies. Adults only weigh around 120 kilograms, or 260 pounds, while females are slightly lighter at an average 100 kilograms (equivalent to about 220 pounds). The males reach about 235 centimetres from head to tail, while females are approximately two metres long.
The Malayan Peninsula is a beautiful area with stunning tropical and subtropical broadleaf forests. These are the ideal conditions for the Malayan Tiger, which prefers to stay concealed in the dense greenery, surreptitiously stalking its prey and retreating back into seclusion and safety. They may also be found on land that was once used for agricultural purposes, which is fairly common in this part of Asia. This land has become overgrown with vegetation, giving the Malayan Tiger places in which to conceal itself in safety. However, a loss of natural habitat remains a massive threat to the Malayan Tiger population.
As with all other tiger subspecies, the Malayan Tiger is a carnivore and an accomplished hunter. They generally feast on wild boar, deer, and the sun bear. If there are baby elephants that are weak, sick or otherwise vulnerable, they will also seize the opportunity to capture one of these. The tiger may only make a kill once every three or four days so, when it has killed its prey, it is likely to eat as much of it as possible in one meal.
Family Structure and Reproduction
The Malayan Tiger lives for between 15 and 20 years. They are mammals, which means that they give birth to live young after a gestation period of about 3.5 months. Usually, about three or four cubs are born. Tigers are solitary creatures, and will not usually be found hunting or living in packs. The cubs will stay with their mother until they are about 18 months old, when they will break away and live independently.
With only a few hundred Malayan Tigers left in the world, it is imperative that various efforts are made to protect and preserve the subspecies. The loss of habitat and the shortage of suitable prey are both important factors that have contributed to the diminished numbers of tigers. The landscape is constantly being developed and urbanised, roads being built through forested areas and farmers occupying land for the growth of crops. Being such a solitary animal, the Malayan Tiger is forced into a smaller and smaller habitat. When the tigers encroach on the land now occupied by humans, sometimes killing pets or livestock in a desperate search for food, they are often killed by the humans out of fear or to protect their livestock.