Photo: Ullas Karanth/WCS. Click here to view it larger.
Have we all got our awwws out? Good, because aside from the cute factor, seeing a four- to five-month-old tiger cub caught on a camera trap is a great sign because it means oh-so-rare wild tigers are actually making new tigers. In fact, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which released the photo, in this cub's home of India's Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, the local population is apparently on the rise.
That's exciting to hear, as India is home to about half of the world's remaining wild tiger population. That's a rather weighty responsibility, and India has long tried to strike a solid balance between their protection and human needs, which has resulted in a large tiger tourism industry.
Like Nepal's recent, impressive successes in wildlife conservation, the tigers in the Bhadra reserve seem to be doing pretty well, at least compared to their brethren in China. The WCS says it's been working in the reserve since the 80s, and this photo comes from a recent remote camera effort (you can see one behind that cute tiger face) led by tiger expert Ullas Karanth. While drones are gaining prominence in ecology, camera traps are the staple tech of wildlife work.
And, considering the incredible wealth of rare species they can capture, they're also incredibly awesome. Most recently, a super-rare snow leopard was caught on an infrared-trigger video trap, but using camera traps to monitor and protect tigers is nothing new. Still, it's really hard to top a face like that.