Hidden cameras capture incredible pictures of elusive animals

Rebecca Lewis

One of the world's most elusive animals has been pictured in the tropical forests of Peru - a fitting way to mark the one millionth image captured by a wildlife team undertaking vital conservation work.

The remarkable image of the rarely seen jaguar - which comes 12 seconds into the video featured above - was taken in Manu National Park by a hidden camera, one of many placed on a grid system in forests through Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The remote cameras use motion sensors to automatically begin filming when it detects movement, signalling that an animal is nearby.

The images of creatures in their natural habitats seek to reveal how unseen animal populations are being affected by changes in climate, habitat and land use.

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The first published results from the study, which shows data from 2011, revealed that  mammals were becoming less diverse and smaller due to poorer diets.

The project has been undertaken by the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network.

Dr. Jorge Ahumada, TEAM's Technical Director, said: "The one-millionth image is an amazing representation of our camera trap work, and it symbolizes the success we have had with this program in collecting new data.

"As we celebrate this accomplishment, we are also at a critical point in beginning to provide information to decision makers from the local to global level on how biodiversity is affected by climate change and habitat loss."

Dr. Sandy Andelman, Senior Vice President of Conservation International and Executive Director of the TEAM Network, added, "Most conservation science today isn't ambitious enough.

"Through the millionth camera trap image TEAM is demonstrating that the right technology, applied at the right scales, can provide the world with an essential picture of how life on Earth is changing."

The TEAM Network is a partnership between Conservation International, Missouri Botanical Garden, Smithsonian Institution and the Wildlife Conservation Society and is implemented through over 80 local partner institutions.

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