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Published January 11, 2010

January 8, 2010—A tiger and two cubs captured by a camera trap on the Indonesian island of Sumatra are the first recorded evidence that the imperiled big cats are breeding in the region, conservationists say.

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© 2010 National Geographic; Video courtesy WWF

Unedited Transcript

Rare close-up video of a Sumatran tiger and two cubs was captured recently in a camera trap in the jungle of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island.

WWF set up the cameras to help monitor the population of the tigers in their primary breeding grounds, which the WWF says is under threat from poaching and deforestation.

The tigers approached the camera, sniffed it, and then walked away. The noise you hear is one of the tigers off-camera inspecting the apparatus.

WWF says the footage is a ‘cause for celebration.’ The group says it’s the first time they’ve recorded evidence of tiger breeding in central Sumatra.

There are as few as 400 Sumatran tigers left in Indonesia.

The WWF says the tiger habitat is threatened by companies clearing the forest for paper and palm oil production, as well as illegal logging.

The infrared-triggered camera traps are activated when they sense body heat in their path. These cameras were placed nearly a month ago along a wildlife ‘corridor’ known to be used by tigers.

After five years of WWF study in Sumatra using wildlife-activated still camera traps, these are the first images of a tiger with offspring.

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