Two wild tiger cubs have been caught on camera in the Sumatran forest – the first ever footage captured of young tigers in a previously unexplored National Park.
Conservationists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) have spent four years in Berbak National Park, studying tigers using camera traps in known tiger spots. But it isn’t until now that they’ve monitored the neighbourhood region of Sembilang, and discovered evidence of breeding in this protected area.
The footage of these big cats shows the mother casually walking past the camera, closely followed by her youngsters, who are thought to be less than a year old. A rare occurrence considering there are only around 300 of the endangered wild animals left in the world, as they remain under great threat from poaching and human destruction of their habitat.
ZSL’s head of regional conservation programmes, Sarah Christie says: “This is the best early Christmas present, and we are absolutely delighted to find the first evidence of breeding in Sembilang.
“We will continue working with leaders of both national parks as well as the government to ensure the areas are better protected and well patrolled,” Sarah added.
Dr. Dolly Priatna, ZSL’s Indonesia country manager added: “This is a key area for Sumatran tigers. If they are saved, everything connected to them is also saved, including the Asia’s last great forests, whose carbon storage alleviates climate change”
Indonesia’s 18 million-acre peat forests are about 50 times the size of London, and make up almost 70% of the world’s tropical carbon stores. If deforestation is discouraged, and Sumatran tigers protected, the carbon storage from these forests is also saved, which will have a vast effect on climate change.
Head of Sembilang National Park, Mr. Tatang says: “This footage highlights that Sembilang National Park is now doubly important for Indonesia; not only is it a major carbon sink, but also a critical habitat for tigers in Southern Sumatra. These data will help us ensure the Berbak-Sembilang area is prioritised for protection.”
As well as the brand new footage of tiger cubs, camera traps have also captured tigers in Berbak as well as tapirs and sunbears.
Sembilang and Berbak National Parks form a single tiger conservation landscape and are one of the very few areas left in the world capable of holding viable tiger populations. The data will support ZSL in working alongside the Indonesian government to improve the protection of this area and conservation of this endangered species.