Species come and species go, sometimes more go than come, but one genus of animal which has perhaps evoked more emotion than any other since the dawn of history is the Panthera or the Big Cats. Maybe because they are seen as one of the most dangerous groups of creatures on the planet, maybe because they are truly magnificent or possibly simply due to their beauty, Lions, Tigers, Jaguars and Leopards are loved, feared and revered the world over and have been hunted since the ice-age days of the Sabre Toothed Tiger.
Unfortunately, Panthera have been hunted to near extinction due to the insatiable appetite of humans for furs and supposed medicines made from their body parts. Several species have actually become extinct and one of these is the Bali Tiger. It is a great shame that these animals were hunted into oblivion as they posed little danger to human beings and pretty much kept themselves to themselves. They proved no match for the guns of colonial Dutch hunters and their already low number were last seen in the 1930’s although some were thought to have survived till the 1950’s.
One famous picture which has been often reproduced and displayed on the walls of Bali villa rentals shows a triumphant Dutch hunter with his retinue of staff celebrating the carcass of a Bali Tiger strung upside down on a pole carried by two of the party. ‘Sport’ hunting is a questionable activity anyway but to kill these magnificent beasts verges on the criminal.
The Bali Tiger (Panthera tigris balica) was one of the smallest members of the tiger sub-species, ranging to a maximum weight around that of a large male human! They were darker in colour than the Indian Tiger with fewer stripes and a larger patch of white on their underbellies.
Whilst the last of these beasts are thought to have died out more than half a century ago, there are occasional reports of big cats taking goats and other domesticated animals in the villages of Bali and some elderly Balinese swear that these are the last surviving members of Bali Tiger. Though there have been no confirmed sightings and there is close to zero chance of having one invade your Bali villa rental, these stories continue to surface every few years. With the growth in the Bali villa rental sector, there is virtually no forest land left in the south of Bali but in the north west there is still a vast area of mostly uncharted forest in the Negara National Park. So when you come here on vacation and you stay in Bali villa rentals, if you do see a tiger make sure you snap a photo or shoot some video footage as proof!