CHICAGO, April 22 (UPI) — A team of 25 scientists led by researchers with Chicago’s Field Museum recently spent 17 days surveying the biodiversity of the Peruvian Amazon.
As part of their efforts, the biologists deployed 14 motion-activated camera traps. This week, the museum shared some of the results — selfies with some of the rainforest’s most iconic species.
A range of species were ensnared in the photographic traps, including: ocelots, giant armadillos, currassows, giant anteaters, tapirs, peccaries and pacas.
Researchers combined their camera traps with aerial drone footage, which allowed them to map the vast landscape.
“No scientists have ever explored this area, let alone document it with cameras and drones,” Jon Markel, a Geographic Information Systems specialist with the museum,explained in a news release. “These images are the first time this remote wilderness and the species that call it home are being recorded for science.”
Given the relatively brief nature of their expedition, the team classified their survey as a “rapid biological and social inventory.” The results were anything but short, however.
Researchers discovered more snakes and frogs during their 17 days in the rainforest than they have during all previous rapid surveys.
They also documented 1,820 plant, fish, amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal species — including 19 new ones.
Scientists hope their efforts will bolster conservation efforts in the region.
“You can’t argue for the protection of an area without knowing what is there,” said Corine Vriesendorp, director of the museum’s rapid inventory program. “We discovered an intact forest inhabited by indigenous people for centuries and teeming with wildlife. We want it to survive and thrive long after our cameras are gone.”