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Timeline of Tiger Extinctions

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1937: Balinese Tiger Extinct
Timeline of Tiger Extinctions

An old male Balinese tiger killed in the early 1900s.

Historic photo courtesy of Peter Maas / The Sixth Extinction

The Balinese tiger (Panthera balica) inhabited the tiny Indonesian island of Bali. It was the smallest of the tiger subspecies, ranging in weight from 140 to 220 pounds, and is said to have been a darker orange color than its mainland relatives with fewer stripes that were occasionally interspersed with small black spots.

The tiger was Bali's top wild predator, and so it played a key role in maintaining the balance of other species on the island. Its primary food sources were wild boar, deer, monkeys, fowl, and monitor lizards. But deforestation and increasing agricultural operations began pushing the tigers to the mountainous northwestern areas of the island around the turn of the 20th century. At the fringes of their territory, they were more easily hunted by the Balinese and Europeans for livestock protection, sport, and museum collections.

The last documented tiger, and adult female, was killed at Sumberkima on September 27th, 1937, marking the extinction of the subspecies. While rumors of surviving tigers persisted throughout the 1970s, no sightings were confirmed, and it is doubtful that Bali has enough intact habitat left to support even a small tiger population.

The Balinese tiger was officially declared extinct by the IUCN in 2003.

There are no Balinese tigers in captivity and no photographs of a live individual.

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