Tigers in the Spotlight
The field staff hike for a full day – sometimes more than a week – to retrieve traps from where they last left them.
In remote locations deep inside the forests, traps are set up carefully by field teams with the intention to capture tigers. But these traps will not harm them at all. They are camera traps – hidden cameras set up by field teams to help them monitor and understand tigers and other wildlife.
In recent months, these secretive camera traps have captured some of the most candid selfies and impressive “jump shots”!
An amazing discovery was made after cross-checking and analyzing data collected from a network of camera traps, which WWF began implementing in the northeast of China since 2010. These cameras are a critical part of China’s national efforts to understand and protect the Amur tigers living in the northeast region.
Thanks to the support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation in the development of strategic plans to conserve Amur tiger and leopard in China, field research teams were able to capture through camera trap, this video of a male adult tiger leaping and clawing at a tree was captured on 21 May 2017, in Hunchun Municipal Forestry Bureau, in the Jilin province of northeastern China.
“This video is a great motivation to our team in the camera monitoring initiative,” said Jiang Jongsong, the lead facilitator of the camera trap monitoring network in Jilin province.
This is only the second time since this tiger – identified as T24 – has been captured on Jilin’s camera trap database. It was first recorded in November 2015 in another area of the forest, providing an important clue into how wild tigers require vast spaces in their habitat in order to migrate and establish new territories.
“Such a behaviour shows the tiger marking its territory and indicates that it is thriving in this area,” Jiang added.
“Nearly two years of settlement of this male tiger is very important for establishing a new breeding tiger population cohabitating 1-2 adult females with breeding signs in the Sandaogou-Erdaogou-Heshan-Dahuanggou area,” said Chang Youde, Amur tiger population monitoring manager of WWF Northeast Programme Office.
Six newborn tiger cubs were discovered through camera trap footage in the Mae Wong and Khlong Lan National Parks – an exciting discovery for Thailand!
In Southeast Asia, where tigers easily disappear into the lush undergrowth, camera traps are the best lens that can help provide a clearer peek into understanding their population.
Led by Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation and supported by WWF-Thailand, this camera trap survey involved 164 camera traps at 82 sites within the parks.
“This is exciting news that further confirms Thailand’s status as a leading tiger range state and Mae Wong and Klong Lan National Parks as critical sites for tiger recovery in Southeast Asia,” said Rungnapa Phoonjampa, WWF-Thailand Mae Wong and Khlong Lan Project Manager.
The results from the camera trap photos and videos revealed a hopeful trend. Apart from an increase of 25% in adult female tiger numbers, tiger cub numbers have also doubled since the last survey! Additionally, leopard and dhole (Asiatic wild dog) populations were found to have increased by 9% and 16% respectively since 2014 – indicating progress in the protection and management of this landscape.
We are also able to assess threats better by studying where wild animals roam through these photos and videos.
“We remain very concerned about the proposed Mae Wong Dam as it will do incredible damage to this tiger habitat and threaten the entire ecosystem. Two of the tigers in this survey were photographed in the area that will be submerged by the dam.”
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