A family of Siberian tigers who live in the wilds of Eastern Russia has found internet fame.
And like so many before them, all it took was taking a series of selfies.
However, unlike most of the ones seen on Instagram, these are actually worth looking at, with not a single duckface in sight.
Which is lucky, because any ducks that did wander into shot were likely to have had their faces ripped clean off.
Whether you want to take this introduction to its logical, full-circle conclusion and advocate a similar fate for the Instagram duckface selfie crew is up to you.
I wouldn’t ever suggest such a thing, and nor would I dwell on the idea when there’s a family of wild Siberian tigers to talk about instead.
The tigers live in Russia’s Land of the Leopard National Park, where staff had set up a camera trap to try to catch some footage of them in their natural habitat.
The family – a mother and two cubs – strike a number of different poses as they engage in a play fight, which ended when the mother appeared to tell them both to calm down.
At this point, one of the younger ones gets a little too curious and decides to see what the camera is all about.
Unfortunately, his or her paw managed to dislodge the SD card, meaning the impromptu photoshoot was cut short.
Ekaterina Blidchenko, research fellow of Land of Leopard and veterinarian at PRNCO Tiger Center, explained that “these shots are unique because they do not just show how the animals walk on a path, but display a whole episode of life of a healthy tiger family.
“The tiger cubs are just four to five months old. They cannot fully control their force and this skill is very important in such games.
“Such fighting is necessary not only to train muscles and improve hunting skills. First of all this is social experience and the mother-tigress is their first teacher.”
The mother tigress is known to the researchers at the Land of the Leopard National Park, where she has been spotted (pun intended) before and given the less-than-romantic name ‘T7F’.
Dina Matyukhina, a senior fellow researcher of Land of Leopard, said this tigress is a hero mother.
“In 2014 camera traps caught her with three cubs, and all of them grew up.
“It’s interesting that two of them left Russia and crossed into China while the third one settled close to the border, so he is seen by camera traps of both Russia and China.”
If national stereotypes* are any indication – and they probably shouldn’t be – the cubs who left Russia and grew up in China will be even more keen to appear in selfies online.
I, for one, can’t wait to see them.
*thinking about it, if national stereotypes were in play, these Russian tigers would be taking death-defying selfies from the top of huge skyscrapers. Please don’t get any ideas… 😀