The camera loves Sumatran tiger cubs, but little did we know, the feeling is mutual.
Our first attempt to capture the new stars of Yokohama Zoological Gardens in the city’s Asahi Ward was unsuccessful. A wooden mounting plate on which a video camera was placed was broken after the cubs held it in their mouths and swung it around.
For our second attempt, the plate was firmly fixed to the ground with iron pegs.
With piercing looks, the baby tigers slowly came close to the camera as if they were studying their prey.
The male cubs, named Phantom and Pump, respectively, were born last fall for the first time in two years at the zoo, aka Zoorasia. They each already weigh more than 30 kilograms.
According to zookeeper Kenji Ishiwada, 50, baby tigers are curious and are attracted to unfamiliar objects.
Although they were only six months old at the time of filming in early April, the cubs already looked like fully grown beasts and acted like wild animals.
Phantom and Pump snapped at the camera, scratched the lens filter and lay down on the mounting plate. When the camera was retrieved, the plate was covered with mud and the filter was heavily scratched.
The Sumatran tiger is found only on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. It is characterized by its dark fur and long cheek hair. As few as 400 to 700 Sumatran tigers are believed to remain in the wild, with poaching for their fur and habitat loss due to deforestation being blamed for their dwindling population.
The Sumatran tiger has been listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, the most threatened category assigned by the IUCN.