Camera trap footage shows endangered tigers thrive in natural habitat

A camera trap footage captured sightings of a female Sumatran tiger mating and roaming with her four cubs in a remote forest in Riau province. (Shutterstock)
Updated 29 July 2018
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Camera trap footage shows endangered tigers thrive in natural habitat

JAKARTA: A camera trap footage that captured sightings of a female Sumatran tiger mating and roaming with her four cubs in a remote forest in Riau province highlighted the need to conserve forests so that rare and endangered species can live and breed naturally.
The footage was released on Sunday by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Riau Natural Resources and Conservation Agency, or BKSDA, in commemoration of International Tiger Day held annually on July 29 to raise awareness on tiger conservation as the big cat is pushed to the brink of extinction.
“Based on our observation of visuals captured in the camera trap, there are adult male and female tigers, including the female with the four cubs, that make the forest their homes,” Suharyono, head of Riau BKSDA, told Arab News.
Suharyono, who, like many Indonesians, goes by one name, said it was also evident from the footage that the cubs had grown to sub adults, aged less than a year old.

“It shows that there is an increase in the Sumatran tiger population,” Suharyono said.
The first clip on the footage showed a female tiger, nicknamed Rima, walking past the camera with three of her four cubs, and the next clip showed one of the cubs sniffing the camera trap, giving viewers an close-up view of the tiger’s eye and whiskers.
Remaining clips in the footage showed Rima was mating with a male tiger and was walking with all her four cubs.
“We identified from her stripe pattern that it was the same female tiger sighted several times with the four cubs,” Sunarto, a wildlife ecologist with the WWF Indonesia in Riau, told Arab News.
He said the camera traps were installed three years ago and have since captured footage of various wildlife that live in the forest, including dozens of the endangered big cats, which by current estimates only 300 to 400 are living in the wild.
“This is good news for Sumatran tiger conservation and it shows that tigers do breed well if their natural habitat is conserved and left intact,” Sunarto said.
The footage comes after police in South Aceh district last week arrested two men for allegedly trying to sell tiger skin.
According to the 1990 Natural Conservation Law, killing a protected species such as a Sumatran tiger is punishable by up to five years in prison and maximum fines of 100 million rupiah ($7,000).
The Sumatran tiger is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and is the only tiger subspecies left in Indonesia after the Javan and Balinese tiger subspecies went extinct in the 1920s and 1940s.


S. Korea’s last polar bear dies ahead of British retirement

Updated 18 October 2018
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S. Korea’s last polar bear dies ahead of British retirement

  • Tongki — a 23-year-old male named after a Japanese cartoon character of the 1980s — lived in a 330-square-meter (3,500-square-foot) concrete enclosure at the Everland theme park outside Seoul
  • The autopsy results suggested that Tongki appeared to have died of old age

SEOUL: The last polar bear kept in South Korea has died of old age only weeks before his planned departure to better living conditions in Britain, zoo officials said Thursday.
Tongki — a 23-year-old male named after a Japanese cartoon character of the 1980s — lived in a 330-square-meter (3,500-square-foot) concrete enclosure at the Everland theme park outside Seoul.
The zoo had planned to move him to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park next month to allow him to enjoy his final days in more appropriate surroundings — the facility in northern England has a 40,000 square meter polar reserve — and had thrown him a farewell party in June.
But Tongki was found dead on Wednesday night and autopsy results suggested that he appeared to have died of old age, the zoo said in a statement, adding it plans to conduct more tests to determine the exact reason for his death.
The average life span of polar bears is around 25 years and Tongki was the equivalent of around 80 in human terms.
“We have designated this week as a period of mourning for Tongki and decorated his living space so visitors can say farewell,” a zoo official told AFP.
Born in captivity at a zoo in the southern city of Masan, Tongki was the only polar bear still living in South Korea and had been alone at Everland since the last fellow resident of his species died three years ago.
Everland said Tongki will not be replaced, and other South Korean zoos have no plans to import the animals, which are classed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of endangered species.