science

Candid Cameras Capture Life in the Jungle
What do animals do when we're not around? They snarl and prowl, yawn and yalp -- and new cameras installed in jungles around the globe by Conservation International gives us a glimpse into the secret life of mammals.

Candid_Camera___Chimpanzee

Pan troglodytes (Common chimpanzee)

Researchers are getting an unusual peek into major tropical spots with 420 hidden automatic cameras snapping candid photos of the truly wild. The first of almost 52,000 pictures were released Monday by Conservation International, a group that promotes wildlife protection, and they are exciting some experienced wildlife biologists.

Conservation International Suriname/TEAM

Candid_Camera___Tapir

Tapirus terrestris (South American Tapir)

They are the hidden family portraits of Earth's most remote jungles finally revealed: A touching snapshot of an endangered female mountain gorilla carrying an infant on her back. A giant anteater sticking its enormous snout practically in the viewer's face. Soulful eyes of a curious chimpanzee, a speedy jaguar and a rare tapir here seen staring back at you.

Conservation International Suriname/TEAM

Candid_Camera_jaguar

Panthera Onca (Jaguar)

The cameras snapped away during a month of the dry season, starting in 2008, in seven different countries and will continue to take candid photos in future years.

Conservation International Suriname/TEAM

Candid_Camera___Tapir_2

Tapirus terrestris (South America Tapir)

"These kind of captured them doing what they're doing, being themselves," said study lead author Jorge Ahumada, technical director of the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network.

 

Conservation International Suriname/TEAM

Candid_Camera___Poacher

Poacher

The cameras were hidden with camouflage and do not have a visible flash. They are heat-sensitive, so when something warm is nearby, the camera snaps a picture. The cameras were positioned to study mammals, but also got large birds, lizards and something else: human poachers, guns in hand.

Conservation International Suriname/TEAM

Candid_Camera___Pecari

Tayassu pecari (White-lipped Pecari)

Ahumada and his team positioned the cameras in seven different wildlife preserves in Suriname, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Tanzania, Brazil, Uganda and Laos.

Conservation International Suriname/TEAM

Candid_Camera___Ocelot

Leopardus pardalis (Ocelot)

Suriname had the most diversity and Laos the least. The ocelot seen here was photographed in Manaus, Brazil. Their findings were published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Conservation International Suriname/TEAM

Candid_Camera___Macaque

Macaca nemestrina (Southern pig-tailed macaque)

This vulnerable species, a macaque, was photographed in Bukit Barisan Selatan, Indonesia.

Conservation International Suriname/TEAM

Candid_Camera___Giant_Anteater

Myrmecophaga tridactyla (Giant anteater)

"What a great study," said Stanford University biologist Terry Root, who was not involved. "Mammals are very hard to census because they are afraid of humans, and they have better ways of hiding than we have of finding them."

Conservation International Suriname/TEAM

Candid_Camera___Female_Mountain_Gorilla

Gorilla beringei beringei (Mountain Gorilla)

Analysis of the photographic data has helped scientists confirm a key conclusion that until now, was understood through uncoordinated local study: habitat loss and smaller reserves have a direct and detrimental impact on the diversity and survival of mammal populations, said Conservation International. 

Conservation International Suriname/TEAM

Candid_Camera___Ocelot_2

Leopardus pardalis (Ocelot)

“The results of the study are important in that they confirm what we suspected: habitat destruction is slowly but surely killing our planet’s mammal diversity,” said Dr. Ahumada.

Conservation International Suriname/TEAM

Candid_Camera___Cougars

Puma concolor (Cougar)

With around 25 percent of all mammal species under threat and little global quantitative information available, this study fills a very important gap in what scientists know about how mammals are being affected by local, regional and global threats, the group said.

Conservation International Suriname/TEAM

Candid_Camera___African_Elephant

Loxodonta africana (African elephant)

To see more of the nearly 52,000 photos of 105 mammal species captured by the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network (TEAM) in the first global camera trap mammal study, visit the SmugMug gallery

Conservation International Suriname/TEAM

Candid Cameras Capture Life in the Jungle

What do animals do when we're not around? They snarl and prowl, yawn and yalp -- and new cameras installed in jungles around the globe by Conservation International gives us a glimpse into the secret life of mammals.

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