Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Camera Trap Study

As an artist and a bit of a tree hugger, I LOVED this study done by Conservation International.

Basically, researchers placed camouflaged cameras in seven areas around the world to document in particular, mammals, and see how things like habitat loss are threatening species population and diversity. The cameras didn't have flashes (rule #1 for awesome photographs) and were heat sensitive, so they snapped a shot when something warm was nearby.

"The first global camera trap mammal study, announced today by a group of international scientists, has documented 105 species in nearly 52,000 images, from seven protected areas across the Americas, Africa and Asia. The photographs reveal an amazing variety of animals in their most candid moments — from a minute mouse to the enormous African elephant, plus gorillas, cougars, giant anteaters and — surprisingly — even tourists and poachers."

42 of the 52,000 photographs collected are posted here, and they are simply stunning. The photos of the elephants are my favorite, but there are so many amazing shots--like a monkey staring right into the camera (curious about the object he spotted, no doubt), endangered Tapirs, and even the poachers (a little ironic I suppose, considering they are contributing to the very concern--dwindling populations--that the scientists are researching).

"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. Impacts are seen in the form of less diversity of species and less variety of body sizes and diets (smaller animals and insectivores are the first to disappear), among others. This information replicated over time and space is crucial to understand the effects of global and regional threats on forest mammals and anticipate extinctions before it is too late."

To read the full article on the study, click here.

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