The first evidence for the past presence of the tiger Panthera tigris (L.) on the island of Palawan, Philippines: Extinction in an island population

Philip J. Piper*, Janine Ochoa, Helen Lewis, Victor Paz, Wilfredo P. Ronquillo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The tiger Panthera tigris (L.) has a fragmented modern biogeographic range, much contracted by recent extinctions, covering continental Asia from India, Nepal and Bhutan east through China and south to Peninsular Malaysia and the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. In Southeast Asia, the historic range of tiger included Java and Bali, and archaeozoological research has shown that it was also present on Borneo in the terminal Pleistocene and Holocene, possibly until fairly recently. Here we report on the first evidence of the former presence of tiger on the south-western Philippine island of Palawan. This new record confirms that the tiger was once distributed throughout the Sundaic biogeographic region and all the large islands of Southeast Asia west of Wallace's Line of Huxley. The disappearance of the tiger from Palawan probably resulted from climatic and palaeogeographic changes at the end of the last glaciation as the landmass greatly decreased and open woodland environments were replaced by closed tropical rainforests. Reduction in prey availability could also have played a role, as local deer populations diminished and eventually disappeared.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-127
Number of pages5
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Volume264
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes

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