We love cat videos, and this rare footage of endangered species in the wild brings our obsession to a whole new level. Some of the animals in this video have never been filmed before, so we feel incredibly lucky to see them in their natural habitat. We’ve seen similarly amazing footage of rare tigers before, but the video below showcases species we’ve never even heard of before.
This amazing footage wouldn’t exist without the help of camera traps. These devices are motion- and heat-activated, turning on when a passive infrared detector senses activity within its range. Because of the way they function, camera trap can be left unattended in the wild for weeks at a time, then collected later for the footage to be reviewed. The concept behind this practice has been around for years (the first recorded use of a camera trap was in 1926), but has been steadily improving thanks to advances in technology. Rather than being triggered with trip wire and capturing still images with strong flashes and loud noises, modern camera traps are much more stealthy in filming wild animals.
In addition to allowing researchers to study elusive species without coming into contact with them or frightening them away, the data that camera traps collects is incredibly useful. In the 1990s, researchers used the footage they collected as a way to monitor population size and density for a wide variety of animals previously deemed too difficult to study. Camera traps allow scientists to estimate these figures with an upgraded “capture and recapture” method of data collection without actually having to physically capture or tag any animals. This information is invaluable in conservation efforts, and is an effective way to monitor illegal activities like poaching and deforestation in protected areas.
Watch this amazing and informative footage in the video below, and be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comments section. Which of these rare and majestic big cats is your favorite?