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.