20 Years Of Camera Traps In India

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Thanks to the National Geographic Society’s excellent website (membership required) for this story on a topic close to our hearts. Camera traps are the source of some of the best nature photography we have seen, as made clear by these authors:

By Krithi K. Karanth and Arjun Srivathsa

With close to 50 species of wild carnivores, India is a haven for elusive families of cats, dogs, hyaenas, bears, otters, civets and mongooses. The Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program has been camera-trapping critters in India for more than 20 years. This program originally started with pioneering camera trap work on tigers and leopards by Dr. K. Ullas Karanth in the early 1990s and has now grown to become one largest global camera trap datasets.

Owing to the enormous effort invested in such camera trap surveys in the Western Ghats, WCS-India database now has more than 750 uniquely identifiable tigers.

Picture2_Black-Leopard

Along the way, there have been several exciting and unexpected discoveries. Black leopards are not a separate species, but are melanistic (dark colored) variants of the normal leopards. They occur naturally in the wild and may form up to 10% of the total leopard population in the Western Ghats. Perhaps these famous felines are not as uncommon as previously thought.

Read the whole article here.

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