Extinction of the Java Tiger


Tigers once ranged widely over the whole of Java and Bali, preying on larger animals of the forest margins, such as deer and pig.  During the 19th century population growth, forest clearing and more effective firearms put growing pressure on the tiger population, which was increasingly confined to remote mountain areas and isolated tracts along the south coast. Until the 1970s, the tiger population in the Ujung Kulon Reserve (later National Park) in the far west of Java appeared to be relatively secure.  Disease amongst the deer, which were the main local prey of the tigers, however, led the Ujung Kulon tigers to die out.  Meru Betiri in eastern Java continued to sustain a small tiger population until the late 1980s, but the region was not ecologically well suited to the tiger, and it is probable that the last Java tiger died in the jungle in the mid 1990s.

Further reading

Boomgaard, Peter, Frontiers of fear: tigers and people in the Malay world, 1600-1950. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001.

Seidensticker, John, Suyono and Tomi Thomas, The Javan tiger and the Meru‑Betiri Reserve: a plan for management. Morges: World Wildlife Fund, 1976.

Map number from Cribb, Historical Atlas of Indonesia (2000)


Year span

1945 - 1970