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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hidden cameras take amazing pictures of animals roaming Earth's remote jungles... and even snap armed poachers

By Daily Mail Reporter

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 staring back at you.

Researchers are getting an unusual peek into major tropical spots with 420 hidden automatic cameras snapping candid photos of the truly wild.

Good spot: A jaguar in the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, one of almost 52,000 photos taken during the study

Going ape: A chimp in Uganda gives the camera a happy look

Gotcha: This poacher was revealed by the camera in Lao People's Democratic Republic

Tale of the taps: A Tapirus terrestris in Central Suriname Nature Reserve is caught showing off his mohican

Family matters: A group of White-lipped Pecari stare into the camera lens in suriname

The first of almost 52,000 pictures were released today by Conservation International, a group that promotes wildlife protection, and they are exciting some experienced wildlife biologists.

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.

‘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.

What is crucial is that there were no people involved - 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.

Bright eyes: A Tapirus terrestris in central Suriname Nature Reserve, in which a stunning amount of animal diversity was found

Cat's amazing: A pair of pumas resting in Costa Rica

Ticket to ride: A baby gorilla was snapped with her mother in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

Nosey neighbour: A giant anteater walks past one of the hidden cameras in Manaus, Brazil

The cameras were positioned to study mammals, but also got large birds, lizards and something else: human poachers, guns in hand.

Mr Ahumada and his team positioned the cameras in seven different wildlife preserves in Suriname, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Tanzania, Brazil, Uganda and Laos. Suriname had the most diversity and Laos the least. Their findings were published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

‘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.’

Tusk master: An African elephant in the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania, snapped by one of the special cameras, which have no visible flash and are covered in camouflage

Leafing through its surroundings: The southern pig-tailed macaque, spotted here in Indonesia, is in danger of extinction

Monkey business: Two young southern pig-tailed macaques in Indonesia get their 15 minutes of fame

Logged: An anteater in Costa Rica strolls past the camera trap



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