In the early 19th century Javan tigers (Panthera tigris sondaica)were so common over Java that in some areas the were considered nothing more than pests.
They were driven to the verge of extinction through a rapid increase in human population leading inevitably to a severe reduction in habitat. Forests were felled then converted for agricultural use. Along with this tigers were merciless hunted and poisoned, and they experienced growing competition for prey species with wild dogs and leopards.
Much of the hunting was carried out by natives, a surprising thing since they considered the tiger a reincarnation of their dead relatives.
About javan tigers
By 1940 the Javan tiger had been pushed into remote mountain ranges and forests. At this stage some small reserves were set up, but these were not large enough and prey species were too low.
Come the mid-1950s only 20-25 tigers remained on Java. Half of these were in the well-known Ujong Kulon Wildlife Reserve, but the 1960s saw all tigers eliminated from this area and also from Baluran National Park.
1972 and the Javan tiger count was down to a maximum of seven in the then newly-formed Meru Betiri Forest Reserve, and perhaps five elsewhere.