The (Probably Extinct) Javan Tiger and its Trace of Existence

Javan tiger or Panthera tigris sondaica, last seen on 1972 and claimed as extinct species after.Scientific Name: Panthera tigris sondaica
Habitate: Java Island
Average Weight:Female: 75-115kg (165 – 253 pounds) and Male: 100-141kg (220 – 310 pounds)
Size (Length): Female: Unknown and Male: 2480mm (8′-3″)
Diet: All tigers are carnivorous. Tiger prey consists mostly of pigs, deer, antelope, buffalo and other large mammals, although tigers have been known to hunt smaller mammals and birds.
Gestation Period: 100-100 Days (Averaging 103 Days)
Cub Maturity: 18 months – 2 Years
Cubs Per Litter: (Usually 2-3 cubs) Cubs are born blind and weigh 2-3 pounds.
Lifespan: Tigers live for 10-15 Years
Predators: Unknown, Man
Social Structure: Solitary (except during Mating Season)

The Javan tigers were driven to extinction though a rapid increase in human population leading inevitably to a severe reduction in habitat for the tigers, which e.g. resulted in growing competition for prey species with wild dogs and leopards. Forests were felled and than converted for agricultural use. The Javan tigers were also merciless hunted and poisoned.

There are meetings between human and javanese tiger reported that answers that Javan Tiger is not extinct yet. Researchers found feces , scratch, and hair of this big cat.
Researchers collected fecal in forest by putting the feces sample into bamboo (grow in the forest), to avoid damage on the feces, arriving at flaying camp, the feces then dried under the sun and when they arrived at base camp they put the feces into 3-4 cm glass tube (subject to feces size), and then dried with 60 Watt lamp. The feces dries after 2 days.
This drying process to avoid sample destruction by insect and fungus. Fecal can be studies elaborately from : diet, composition of diet, behavioral pattern and even detection of preys locations. Sample documentation should be carefully done on then first finding until drying process. After that then break open the feces to find out the composition of bone fragments and tooth analysis.

The Basic Fecal Structure of Big Cat

In the first stage, they should distinct carnivore feces to other animals feces such as snakes and owls. Big cat’s fecal consists of prey hairs, bone fragments and in the form of bolus ( orbicilar shape as in horse feces). Python’s feces has prey hairs, only it has no bone fragments as bones are perfectly digested into white pasta. Owl’s pellets look like that of big carnivore only it had head of rat, squirrel or bat with intact pipe bone. According to field study, the three fecal can be studied from their typical smell, this is related to digestion enzymes secreted by them.

Fecal of Sumateran tiger in zoo  fed with chicken, and its feces consists of 2 bolus. This can be used to recognize typical smell of tiger, and characteristic of feces diameter.

Owl pellet, slightly looks like big carnivore but if we take a look closer, it shows digestion by animals which had no teeth, but beak. This is shown by the intact pipe bones and flying-fox skull. Owl feces resembles like pasta.

Bone fragment is the main characteristic of big cat. This distinct carnivore fecal to that of python and owl. Carnivore chew prey’s bone while snake and owl swallow the prey. It also allows researcher to measure teeth to know detail the size of teeth to break bone. The bone fragments usually are covered by fur of prey in feces structure.

Prey fur in fecal can be used to identify big cat feces. Usually owl pellet has fur of rat, squirrel, but not fur of deer and pig.

The Difference between Leopard and Javan Tiger Fecal

The main approach used to distinct tiger fecal to that of leopard is the diameter of fecal and leaves contain on the tip of bolus. If fecal’s diameter is more than 4 cm and feces tip contains no leaves (reed or bamboo), then researcher can determine that it is Javan tiger fecal. If the diameter is 2-3 cm and there is leave then that is leopard fecal. Javan tiger’s feces contains prey’s claw /nails, and this is not part of leopard’s behavior.

Javan tiger’s fecal diameter is 6.5 cm and contains bone fragment, pig fur and consists of 6 bolus. This kind of fecal found by ranger of Meru Betiri National Park.

Leopard’s fecal diamater is approximately 2 cm and the tip of feces has bamboo leave. Locals said that leopard’s feces sometimes contains soil. On the figure, can be see that there is soil. This feces was found on asphalt road from Paltuding to Totokan Gunung Ijen.

Javan Tiger, an Opportunist Animal

Carnivores tend to be opportunistic means that they any animalsm any prey, from insects to banteng. This behavior can be studied from composition of fecal found by a Pendarung inhabitant in 2004, and then analyzed by researcher. The fecal diameter is 7 cm, consists of 5 bolus, it has fur of pig, deer and long tail monkey. And it has head of insect, plant branches and bamboo leaves between pig fur and deer, not on the bolus tip.

Bolus feces of Javan tiger has claws of pig, including fur of pig, deer fur and grey monkey. Prey’s claw is one of Javan tiger feces characteristics. Sometimes it has claws of monkey. And insects head.

Feces contains show the opportunistic nature of Javan tiger. It eat pigs to insects. As on the above figure, Javan tiger has bamboo leave in its feces, that Javan tiger prey their prey in bamboo nearby or under bamboo trees.  The feces founder found the feces under vegetation of bamban and there was no bamboo grow nearby. Therefore, it is impossible that the bamboo leave dropped on the defecation process. So bamboo leaf was digested when preying on forest floor with bamboo leaves where usually bamboo leaf attached on prey’s meat as the blood dries. Strengthening this opinion is that when the feces found it was in dry season in the early of August. In conclusion, Javan tigers prey under bamboo vegetation, this information can be used to trace Javan tiger’s trace and further investigation as usually tiger stockpile the remain of their prey if they could not finish it.

Figure 8. Shows the size of  Javan tiger’s molar can be seen here. The cut on the shape of upper and lower molar of Javan tiger can be clearly identified.