A View from Conor Myhrvold
Camera Traps Reveal Surprising Wildlife Behavior
The technology is helping efforts to preserve endangered species.
The use of camera traps in remote wildlife areas is on the rise, and it’s helping with efforts to preserve endangered species. The past few months have seen a number of cool camera trap discoveries; this article also describes how conservation scientists are increasingly relying on the technology.
In Iran, camera traps recently photographed a female cheetah at two separate wildlife reserves 130 km apart (Siahkouh National Park and Hare Anjir Wildlife Refuge), inferring long distance cheetah movement across train tracks and roads. This is part of a larger monitoring system created by the Iranian Cheetah Society, which captured images of caracals, wolves and leopards earlier in the spring.
Jaguars, pumas and an ocelot were also photographed moving through Columbia palm oil plantations on June 7, showing that the boundaries between wild and manmade habitats are becoming more blurred than commonly assumed, and calling into question the black-and-white approach of setting aside small patches of off-limits wilderness in lieu of more extensive habitat protection.
On May 29, researchers announced that the elusive, nocturnal Sumatran striped rabbit was photographed twice on the forest floors in 2011. And earlier in May, cameras captured the Cross River Gorilla, the world’s rarest gorilla subspecies, along the Nigerian-Cameroon border. In late April, a camera trap took the first photos of a Chinese Amur leopard.