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Javan tiger facts for kids

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Java Tiger
A Javan tiger in London Zoo before 1942

The Javan tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica) is 1 of 3 extinct types of tigers. It lived on the island of Java in Indonesia. It became extinct in the 1970s-1990s. The last known sighting of one was in 1972.


At the beginning of the 20th century, 28 million people lived on the island of Java. The annual production of rice was insufficient to adequately supply the growing human population, so that within 15 years, 150% more land was cleared for rice fields. In 1938, natural forest covered 23% of the island. By 1975, only 8% forest stand remained, and the human population had increased to 85 million people. In this human-dominated landscape, the extirpation of the Javan tiger was intensified by several circumstances and events:

  • Tigers and their prey were poisoned in many places during the period when their habitat was rapidly being reduced.
  • Natural forests were increasingly fragmented after World War II for plantations of teak, coffee, and rubber, which were unsuitable habitat for wildlife.
  • Rusa deer, the tiger's most important prey species, was lost to disease in several reserves and forests during the 1960s.
  • During the period of civil unrest after 1965, armed groups retreated to reserves, where they killed the remaining tigers.

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