This extraordinary glimpse of one of Malaysia’s last remaining tigers provides hope that nationwide efforts to save the species are working.
Since the 1950s, the tiger (Panthera tigris) population in Malaysia has rapidly declined from around 3000 to fewer than 150 individuals today. The main drivers of this fall have been habitat loss from deforestation and poaching for the illegal wildlife trade.
The loss of predators at the top of the food chain could have a catastrophic effect on the forest ecosystem through the uncontrolled proliferation of herbivores, such as deer, that can overgraze the land. To guard against this, the Malaysian government has been working with Indigenous communities and organisations such as WWF to protect the endangered species.
Wildlife photographer Emmanuel Rondeau and members of an anti-poaching patrol team called Project Stampede laid eight high-definition camera traps around the Belum-Temengor forest complex in the northern region of Peninsular Malaysia. After five months, the team found that the cameras had captured some spectacular tiger photos.
“Capturing a photo of a tiger in Malaysia in its natural habitat is a rarity,” said Becci May at WWF in a statement. “Yet each image serves as a sign of hope as well as a poignant reminder of the efforts needed to safeguard their future.”
The team also caught images of other wildlife, including this nighttime shot of a Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus), another endangered species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.