3 min read

Rare Tigers Play Fight In Heartening First-Ever Footage

<p> <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEgunhg8r58">YouTube/World Wildlife Fund</a> </p>

For the very first time, footage has emerged showing a family of Amur tigers living deep in the jungles of China - bolstering hopes for the species' return after decades of absence.

Camera traps in the Wangqing Nature Reserve captured images of a mother tiger with her two cubs frolicking in the background. Conservationists from the World Wildlife Fund say this is proof the big cats are reproducing in a place where they were once wiped out.

The little tigers appear to be about as rambunctious as you might expect, play fighting while mom's head is turned.

YouTube/World Wildlife Fund

This scene of Amur tigers didn't come without many years of hard work. The species was once driven to near extinction by poaching, reduced to only about 20 to 30 individuals by the 1930s.

Since then, their recovery has been slow but steady, thanks to efforts to preserve them in the wild. Today, there are about 360 Amur tigers in existence, though their range was thought to have been limited to Russia, with a few living along China's northern border.

"These images show that Wangqing Nature Reserve has now become a breeding site for Amur tigers," conservationist Wang Fuyou told WWF. "Seeing these positive outcomes from our efforts greatly strengthens our confidence that wild Amur tiger populations can be restored."