Camera-Traps to Search for 'Extinct' Javan Tigers

Since 1994, decades after the last Javan tiger was seen in the wild, biologists have classified the iconic big cat as 'extinct' -- but in light of recently found clues, officials from a nature reserve in Indonesia believe they could be close to rewriting history. Prompted by new evidence of tigers there, the Meru Betiri National Park in East Java plans to install motion-sensing camera traps which might soon offer proof that, despite the finality of their conservation status, Javan tigers have indeed persevered.

For decades, Javan tigers have been considered one of the most recognizable casualties of human activities in the region. Despite a push to preserve them through the mid-20 century, the last Javan tiger was spotted in 1976, never to be seen again. A pervasive combination of deforestation and poaching were the main factors which led to their presumed demise.

New evidence, however inconclusive, found in East Java has some wildlife experts wanting to take another look for the tigers -- aided with the latest technology: camera traps.

“We’re going to set up those camera traps to finally resolve the question of the Javan tiger being extinct, because the evidence that we have so far, from droppings and paw prints to claw marks [on trees], suggests that it may still exist in Meru Betiri,” park director Bambang Darmadja told the Jakarta Globe. “I’m optimistic that the Javan tiger still lives in Meru Betiri.”

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