Occasionally, unofficial reports of Javan tigers surface from enthusiasts who believe the tiger still exists in Java.
The last known confirmed Javan tiger spotting occurred around 40 years ago. Since then, preservationists assumed the tiger was extinct – until a mysterious cat was filmed by rangers at the Ujung Kulon National Park in West Java last month, The New York Times reports.
Wulan Pusparini, Wildlife Conservation Society tiger expert, suggested that “when the video is frozen, the effect is that it looks like a tiger” but when the cat moves, it looks far more like a Javan leopard, which is endangered but not extinct.
Still, “this used to be a Javan tiger habitat”, the head of conservation at Ujung Kulon National Park said. “We hope that they’re still there”.
Below is a clear photo of a Javan Tiger at London Zoo in 1942.
Other alleged sightings are as follows, according to extinctanimals.org:
- In 1995, a group of villagers claimed to have seen an adult Javan tiger with cubs in East Java.
- In 2009, villagers near the Lawu Mountain claimed to have seen a tigress with cubs. Authorities found several fresh tracks, but the big cat remained elusive.
- Following the eruption of Mount Merapi in October 2010, two villagers claimed to have seen big cat paw marks in the residual ash, but the park officials dismissed that idea.