Puna - The Big Cat Sanctuary


Panthera Tigris Sumatrae/Sumatran TigerCritically Endangered

Interesting facts about Puna

  • Sumatran tigers are the smallest tiger subspecies. Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, they are still poached for fur and body parts used in traditional medicines.
  • Their coat is richer in colour and their stripes are thinner and more numerous than other tiger subspecies.
  • Native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, they are the last remaining island tiger on the planet.
  • Cubs reach independence at two years old. They can be found in varying forest habitats on the island of Sumatra in South East Asia.

Cat Care Gifts for Puna

Puna was born in a litter of 2 at Tiergarten Heidelberg to first time mother, Julieta.

She was only getting milk from the female for the first five days of her life, after which Julieta became very uninterested. Puna made her way though the house area one night and fell into the vistor’s area where she was found by keeping staff the following morning. It was decided that she would be bottlefed, yet would live in the enclosure next to her father’s to allow them to bond.

She was a fantastic first time mum in 2008 when she had her first litter of 2:0 with breeding partner Nias, and again in 2011 to 2:0.

The Sumatran tiger is the smallest of the tiger sub-species.

They have a very characteristic dark orange coat, with very thin, closely packed stripes. As with all tiger species, these stripes are as unique to each individual, as our finger prints are to us. Around the face is a long white ruff of fur, more often seen in males than females. As their name suggests, the Sumatran tiger’s native habitat is the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Historically there were three tiger sub-species that made up a grouping of ‘Sunda Island’ tigers. Two of these; the Javan and Bali, have since been classed as extinct. This leaves the Sumatran tiger as the only surviving island sub-species, all others being mainland animals. They alter their behaviour and hunting in accordance with the type of area they live in. Preferring non-cultivated forests, they take preference over areas with high elevation, dense undercover and close to a water source. Areas that are highly farmed and have a high human influence are naturally avoided by the tigers, such as palm oil or acacia plantations. There have been nine prey species recorded which are often favoured by the tiger population, the largest of these being the Malayan tapir. The Sumatran tiger is an apex predator, so the steady decline in their numbers may eventually have a detrimental effect on prey populations also.

Education is the key.

The main threat to the wild Sumatran tiger population is the increasing palm oil trade. The tigers need continual blocks of forest in which to thrive, as being a solitary species this is their only way of meeting breeding individuals.

The traditional medicine trade is another problem that faces the wild population, with the demand for bones and body parts showing no signs of slowing down.

Education is now the key to halting this trade and younger generations are now being taught to appreciate the tiger and that a lot of their traditional medicine is actually of no medicinal value at all. Several surveys have been carried out, and it seems unlikely there will ever be sufficient, sustainable habitat to release captive Sumatran tigers back into the wild.

IUCN Red List Category Critically Endangered(CR)

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