“Fine, fresh, fierce, we got it on lock” Katy Perry.
Those lines from ‘California Gurls’ song would be a perfect description of the current state of our beloved Malayan tigers.
With less than 300 tigers out in the wild, losing the Malayan tiger means losing Malaysia’s symbol of national pride and identity.
Apart from being, the pride of the nation, tigers are the apex predator of the food chain. Losing them would critically harm our ecosystem, food chain, and resources.
In an attempt to create more awareness about the importance of tigers; here’s are some cool, less known but interesting facts of the smallest subspecies of the tiger family.
1. It is the only tiger species that can swim!
Do you like to swim? If so, you may have something in common with Malaysia’s favorite animal.
This tiger enjoys swimming and playing in shallow rivers and lakes, and it can cross shallow streams by swimming while keeping its head above water.
2. They can eat an entire elephant.
The Malayan tiger will gladly enjoy a carnivorous fare of sambar deer, wild boars, bearded pigs, tapirs, goats, monkeys, rhino calves, and — yes — elephants.
So don’t let your baby Dumbo roam in the wild in Malaysia.
The Malayan tiger is also known to feed on livestock, which is often problematic for local farmers.
3. They are born blind
Cubs are born with their eyes entirely closed and, therefore, blind.
Their eyes typically peak open between 6–12 days after birth, and they gain full sight in 2 weeks. This is not unlike most tiger species.
4. Only 50% of cubs live past 2 years old
Only 2–5 cubs are born every birth, and only half of these will survive past 2 years old.
The Malayan tigress usually gives birth to her cubs in a cave, but due to its critically endangered status, there is also a large breeding facility in Malaysia to help maintain its population.
Several Malayan tigers have been successfully bred at this facility, and their cubs have been sent to zoos in different parts of the world for protection.
5. They can camouflage better than a ninja!
Thanks to its black stripes on orange fur, the Malayan tiger is surprisingly adept at blending in with rainforest trees and the edges of streams and rivers.
If you’re about to be dinner, this is the reason you didn’t know.
6. Its greatest threat is… HUMANS!
The Malayan tiger sits at the top of the food chain, so its survival isn’t threatened by dung beetles and cicadas.
But it is threatened by human aspirations such as commercial development projects, allocation of land for agriculture and habitat fragmentation.
Mainly, because of just plain human carelessness and greed!
What You Can Do to Help Save Our Tigers?
The demand needs to stop and the supply has to be cut off.
The former will take time but the latter can be done now by putting more boots on the ground, especially with support from law enforcement agencies.
By practicing intolerance to wildlife crimes, we can protect our Malayan tigers for generations to come. We can ensure their survival if we act now.
The Malayan tiger must be made a national priority. You too can join in the efforts to save the Malayan tiger by donating, volunteering or just reading and spreading news and awareness about the importance of tigers to our planet.
Written by Kavitha Kavy