Sumatran Tigers
This rare glimpse of the Sumatran tiger cubs was filmed in Sembilang National Park. (Zoological Society of London)

Two wild tiger cubs have been caught on camera in the Sumatran rainforest of Indonesia - the first footage ever captured of young big cats in the area.

In the 30-second video, the mother of the two cubs walks straight past the camera, before her two youngsters, believed to be less than a year old, follow her through the forest.

The video was filmed after the Zoologial Society of London set up a series of remote cameras in the dense undergrowth of the island's previously unexplored Sembilang National Park.

The extraordinary footage is even more remarkable because there are so few Sumatran tigers left. Recent statistics claim there may be only 300 of the critically endangered species alive in the wild.

The decline in their number in recent years has been caused by rampant poaching on the island of Sumatra and illegal logging destroying their habitat. Sumatra has lost almost 50 percent of its rainforest in the last 35 years, putting indigenous animals such as the tiger, rhinoceros and orangutan under threat of extinction.

The video provides evidence of breeding in the area, and will help the ZSL and the Indonesian government  improve protection of an area that is one of the last places in the world capable of maintaining viable tiger populations.

ZSL's head of regional conservation programmes, Sarah Christie, said of the footage: "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."

The conservationists set up the cameras after spending four years filming parts of nearby Berbak National Park. As well as the tigers cubs, they have managed to record footage of tapirs and sun bears.

This article was updated November 30, -0001 00:00 AM
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