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Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)

Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)

In the lush tropical rainforests of Malaysia, a fierce predator quietly stalks its prey, slipping through the shadows with deadly precision. The Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) is a stunning creature, known for its distinctive stripes and powerful build. With a range spanning from the mainland to the country’s many islands, this subspecies of tiger is one of the most adaptable and resilient big cats in the world. From its role in shaping the local culture to its importance in maintaining ecosystem balance, the Malayan tiger is a symbol of strength and grace that continues to captivate the world with its beauty and power.

Everyone knows Bengal, Siberian or Sumatran tigers, and if they don’t, they at least have heard about them. However, only few people know that there is a bit more of tiger subspecies. Today we are presenting critically endangered subspecies of tiger – Malayan tiger – that systematically lose their battle for life with people…

Tigers have been losing their fight for survival for years, finding themselves on the verge of extinction. Although each subspecies has a different situation regarding its population, none of them can feel safe.

How long are we going to be able to admire these big and dignified cats – we don’t know. But we know that people bear the greatest responsibility for their endangerment.


  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Felidae
  • Genus: Panthera
  • Species: Tiger (P. tigris)
  • Subspecies: Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)
Malayan tigers (Panthera tigris jacksoni)
Malayan tigers (Panthera tigris jacksoni)

Occurrence and habitats

Tigers from the southern part of the Malay Peninsula are the neighbors of those living in the northern part of Thailand, but the territorial distribution of the Indochinese and Malayan subspecies is unknown.

In Singapore, tigers were completely wiped out in 1950s, but between 1991 and 2003 some traces, that could have been of a tiger, were found in non-forest regions of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Johor.

Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)
Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)



There are no clear differences between the Malayan and Indochinese subspecies in terms of the skull appearance and fur coloration.

It seems to be smaller than the Bengal tiger; the average body length with tail of a male is 259 cm (8ft 6.0in), and of a female – 239 cm (7ft 10in). The height at shoulders is: males: 61-114 cm (24 – 45 in), females: 58-104 cm (23 – 41 in).


It mostly feeds on the sambar deer, muntjacs, boars, Bornean bearded pigs, sun bears, young elephants and rhinoceroses. However, it is unknown if it could hunt an adult gaur or a tapir. It sometimes feeds on livestock, but it also decreases the population of the boar, that has been considered detrimental for crops and agricultural areas.

Studies have shown that in the regions where there are no large predators such as tigers or leopards, the population of the boar is 10 times bigger than in places where they can be the prey of the big cats.

Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)
Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)

Sad statistics – endangered tigers

The Malayan tiger is also endangered – in the 1950s the population was estimated at 3000 adult individuals. In 1990 – about 500, in 2013 about 250 – 340 tigers. However, the number of the tigers in the wild has been decreasing. In 2015 wild population of mature Malayan tigers was estimated to 80 – 120 individuals by The IUCN Red List.

Detailed information and size

Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)

  • Body length wit tail:
    • males: 190 – 280 cm (75 – 112 in)
    • females: 180 – 260 cm (70 – 103 in)
  • Height at shoulders:
    • males: 61 – 114 cm (24 – 45 in)
    • females: 58 – 104 cm (23 – 41 in)
  • Weight:
    • males: 120 kg (265 lb)
    • females: 100 kg (220 lb)
  • Lifespan: 15 – 20 years (in captivity longer than in the wild)
Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)
Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)

Malayan tigers – interesting facts

  • Until recently, the Malayan tiger has been classed as the Indochinese subspecies, but it has changed after DNA tests.
  • In the Malayan language the tiger is referred to as harimau or rimau.
  • The Malayan tiger is the national animal of Malaysia. Two tigers are shown as supporters in the Coat of Arms of this country, they are also a part of the logo of the Royal Malaysia Police, Maybank, Proton (a company producing cars and motorcycles), and Malaysia Super League (Persatuan Bolasepak Malaysia). This animal symbolizes the bravery and strength of the Malaysians.
  • Tigers are the victims of poachers who work for people dealing with traditional folk medicine – it is one of the main factors causing the extermination of these beautiful predators.
Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)
Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)


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