Sascha Fonseca turned his passion for animals into a career in 2013. The photographer, who was born in Germany and now lives in Dubai, specializes in DSLR camera traps that allow him to acquire an unrivaled perspective of animals. Fonseca recently demonstrated the potential of these camera traps when he captured a rare Siberian tiger in its natural habitat.
The world’s biggest big cats are critically endangered, with only around 500 living in the wild. They mostly reside in the birch woods of eastern Russia, which is where Fonseca put up his camera trap in December 2021.
“Camera traps allow me to acquire close-up photographs of hidden species that I wouldn’t be able to get otherwise,” Fonseca tells My Modern Met. “Tigers are typically nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night.” You might stake out for months or even years without capturing a single photograph. Camera traps are capable.”
Fonseca, on the other hand, is keen to dispel the notion that setting up a camera trap is simple. He continues, “This is more than just putting a trail camera to a tree.” “It’s like putting up a studio in the woods.”
The photographer was able to rapidly get footage of a male tiger he originally mistook for a known male named Ostorojny because to his experience with camera traps. However, following closer inspection, Fonseca and academics discovered that he had photographed an undocumented man.
Researchers gave Fonseca the opportunity to name the lovely tiger as a thank you for shooting him. Because of a striking L pattern on his cheekbone and in honor of Russian poet Leo Tolstoy, Fonseca chose the name Leo. Fonseca appreciates the privilege of naming this magnificent creature. “It’s a tremendous honor, and it gives you a personal connection with the animal,” he says.
Fonseca thinks that his study will help people understand the challenges that the Siberian, or Amur, tiger is experiencing. “Wildlife reserves and national parks preserve just 3-4 percent of an Amur tiger’s range. Siberian tigers are also hunted for their fur and body parts, which are utilized in traditional Chinese medicine. The existence of wild Siberian tigers in the world today is nothing short of a miracle. To guarantee their existence, the Siberian tiger and its habitat require immediate assistance and protection.”
Watch how this Siberian tiger sets off Sascha Fonseca’s camera trap.
His trail camera captures many memorable moments, such as this Amur tiger mother and her kittens playing.