Manaus, Brazil. Myrmecophaga tridactyla (Giant anteater), a vulnerable species. This image is one of nearly 52,000 photos of 105 mammal species, taken as part of the first global camera trap mammal study done by The Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network (TEAM).
An international group of scientists has completed a huge study that captured 52,000 candid photos of 105 species throughout the world, according to a Conservation International Press Release. It has confirmed the findings of small local studies: that smaller reserves and habitat loss negatively affect mammal populations. There are now fewer species of small animals and insectivores are the first to disappear.
Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. Loxodonta africana (African elephant). This was the largest animal photographed in the study, weighing 3,940kg.
By replicating this information on a global scale, vital information can be gathered that may help to prevent the impending extinction of a large number of species.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda. Gorilla beringei beringei (Mountain Gorilla), an endangered species.
Published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, the study is called "Community structure and diversity of tropical mammals: data from a global camera trap network”.
Bukit Barisan Selatan, Indonesia. Macaca nemestrina (Southern pig-tailed macaque), a vulnerable species.
The study was led by Dr. Jorge Ahumada, ecologist with the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network at Conservation International. Protected areas in Brazil, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Laos, Suriname, Tanzania and Uganda were researched, making this not only the first global camera trap mammal study, but also the largest camera trap study of any class of animals (not just mammals).
Manaus, Brazil. Leopardus pardalis (Ocelot).
The research team used 420 cameras, 60 in each site and left them there for a period of one month. There was a camera for every one to two square kilometers.
Manaus, Brazil.Tapirus terrestris (South America Tapir), a vulnerable species.
Scientists collected the photos over a period of two years between 2008 and 2010 and categorized the mammals in areas such as species and body size.
Central Suriname Nature Reserve, Suriname. Panthera Onca (Jaguar), a near threatened species. Of the sites researched, this one presented the highest number of species diversity.
This image is one of nearly 52,000 photos of 105 mammal species, taken as part of the first global camera trap mammal study done by The Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network (TEAM).
Central Suriname Nature Reserve, Suriname. Pecari tajacu (Collared Peccary). Of the sites researched, this one presented the highest number of species diversity.
The findings showed that larger protected areas such as national parks and forests had the same three pieces of data:
First, a larger number of species. Secondly, a larger number of animal sizes ranging from small to large.
Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. Panthera pardus (African leopard), a near threatened species.
Third, they found that diets were varied, including omnivores, insectivores, carnivores and herbivores.
Bukit Barisan Selatan, Indonesia. Helarctos malayanus (Sun Bear), a vulnerable species.
The Central Suriname Nature Reserve had the largest number of species (28) and the Nam Kading National Protected Area in Laos had the lowest number (13).
Manaus, Brazil. Cuniculus paca (Lowland paca).
Dr. Ahumada said: "The results of the study are important in that they confirm what we suspected: habitat destruction is slowly but surely killing our planet's mammal diversity."
Nam Kading, Lao People's Democratic Republic. Muntiacus muntjak (Indian Muntjak).
"We take away two key findings from this research. First, protected areas matter: the bigger the forest they live in, the higher the number and diversity of species, body sizes and diet types," explained Dr. Ahumada.
Volcan Barva, Costa Rica. Panthera onca (Jaguar) – the largest cat in the western hemisphere and a near threatened species.
Dr. Amuhada continued on the study findings: "Second, some mammals seem more vulnerable to habitat loss than others: insect-eating mammals — like anteaters, armadillos and some primates, are the first to disappear — while other groups, like herbivores, seem to be less
Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. Genetta servalina lowei (Lowe's Servaline Genet) – a small African carnivore.
Twenty-five per cent of all mammals are under threat to habitat loss, over hunting and climate change. This study will be a continuous piece of data that will allow targeted intervention when necessary.
Volcan Barva, Costa Rica. Tamandua mexicana (Northern tamandua). Smaller anteater.
"What makes this study scientifically groundbreaking is that we created for the first time consistent, comparable information for mammals on a global scale setting an effective baseline to monitor change," said Dr. Ahumada.
Volcan Barva, Costa Rica. Tapirus bairdii (Baird's Tapir) – a very rare and endangered species.
"By using this single, standardized methodology in the years to come and comparing the data we receive, we will be able to see trends in mammal communities and take specific, targeted action to save them," continued Dr. Ahumada.
Central Suriname Nature Reserve, Suriname. Tapirus terrestris (South American Tapir) – a vulnerable species. Of the sites researched, this one presented the highest number of species diversity (28).
Volcan Barva, Costa Rica. Puma concolor (Cougar).
"We hope that these data contribute to a better management of protected areas and conservation of mammals worldwide, and a more widespread use of standardized camera trapping studies to monitor these critically important animals," concluded Dr. Ahumada.
Global Camera Trap
Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. Syncerus caffer (African Buffalo). This image is one of nearly 52,000 photos of 105 mammal species, taken as part of the first global camera trap mammal study done by The Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network (TEAM).