Two wild tiger cubs have been caught on camera in the Sumatran forest of Indonesia, the first footage ever captured of the young felines 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 one years 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, with recent supports stating that there could be as little as 300 of the critically endangered species alive in the wild.
The decline in their number in recent years has been caused by both rampant poaching on the island and illegal logging destroying their habitat. Sumatra has lost almost 50% of its rainforest in the last 35 years, putting animals such as the Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhino and Sumatran Orangutan under threat of extinction.
The video provides evidence of breeding in the protected area, and will help the ZSL and the Indonesian government to improve protection of the area that is one of the last places in the world capable of holding viable tiger populations.
ZSL's head of regional conservation programmes Sarah Christie told of the research group’s delight at recording this unique 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," she said.
The conservationists had recently set up cameras in Sembilang after spending the past four years filming areas of the nearby Berbak National Park. As well as the tigers cubs, they have managed to record footage of tapirs and sun bears.
Written by Alfred Joyner