Most of the animals scientists want to learn about in the wild aren’t going to come when called or stand still. So, researchers rely on camera traps, cameras with motion sensors that take the picture as the animal passes by. It is quite literally candid camera for wildlife. The Smithsonian has put together a magnificent project for the public, placing more than 202,000 photos online for people to go through and see exactly what the animals look like as they activate the camera. Not only that; the Smithsonian have provided links so that readers can learn about the different animals, many of which you will never have heard of – like the tayra, a mammal from Peru. We are going to look at some of the animals here; follow the links to explore the rest!
The snow leopard is one of the most beautiful endangered cats. The one pity about this image is that you can’t see the snow leopard’s eye color, which unusually for big cats will often be gray or green. Snow leopards also can’t roar – missing some essential parts of the larynx – and so hiss and mew instead. Wikipedia has a few stunning pictures of them if you are interested in seeing more.The Asian black bear is also called the moon bear, and we are lucky to see these alive in the forest. So many of them are kept captive and in effect tortured for their body parts, specifically for bile. They are kept in terrible conditions inside crates with a metal shunt inserted into their gall bladder. You can see an image of one of these bears here. They are also killed for their paws.
This very shy deer gets its name from the sound it makes when alarmed. It is the oldest deer species, and fossils have been found from the Miocene era. It is also very ununsual in that it has tushes or mini tusks with its long canines. When males fight, they use the tushes more than their small antlers.
The Smithsonian has put together an exciting and really valuable research tool for everyone – from students and scientists to people just interested in wildlife and what they do when out in the wild. The place to explore all the 202,000 images is siwild.si.edu