More than 40 years ago, the last known Javan tiger was seen by human eyes. In the intervening years, preservationists assumed the tiger was extinct — until a mysterious big cat was filmed by rangers at the Ujung Kulon National Park in West Java last month, The New York Times reports.
World Conversation Society tiger expert Wulan Pusparini cautioned 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 Javan tiger habitat," the head of conservation at Ujung Kulon National Park said. "We hope that they're still there."
Javan tigers were thought to have been hunted into extinction, with the last confirmed sighting in 1979. The footage from the Ujung Kulon National Park has spurred the World Wildlife Fund into supporting an expedition to search for traces that the Javan tiger might still lurk in the Indonesian jungles.