SciDev.Net

Forest camera traps monitor world’s endangered species

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Courtesy of SciDev.Net

Hidden in some of the world’s most impenetrable forests, a network of cameras with inbuilt motion sensors are snapping animals in their tropical habitats. The photographs in this gallery were captured in forests in Africa, Asia and Latin America. They provide information on animal populations that are usually unseen by humans.

With the help of local inhabitants, scientists from the TEAM (Tropical Ecology Assessment & Monitoring) Network have deployed ‘camera traps’ in 17 tropical forests. Although these are the richest biological habitats on the planet, they are also the least understood because they are so difficult to access.

The images help build a picture of the long-term effects of climate change on biodiversity, natural resources and, ultimately, on human wellbeing in threatened environments. For example, they can reveal how changes in rainfall pattern or temperature affect species numbers. The cameras also help monitor how species are affected by changes in habitat and land use.

The data that TEAM collects on mammals, birds and vegetation can act as an early warning of global species loss.

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