An Exeter University biologist was part of the expedition team to capture some of the first ever footage of incredibly rare and endangered animals.
The critically endangered bird, the Sira Currasow, and the spectacled bear on which the character Paddington Bear was based, were caught on camera by the biologists whilst on an expedition in Peru.
The expedition’s aim was to survey and document animal life in the Cerros del Sira, a rural, high-altitude forest situated in central Peru.
22 crowd funded camera traps were deployed in March 2015 and stayed in place until last week when the team returned.
30 other species of mammal, 145 species of bird, 41 species of amphibian, 10 species of lizard and 7 species of snake were also captured on film by the hidden cameras.
Dr Chris Beirne, from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at Exeter University’s Penryn Campus, attended the expedition. He commented: “The results of our expedition and these incredible videos highlight the importance of the Sira Communal Reserve in maintaining biodiversity in the region.
“Capturing the first ever camera trap footage of the Sira Currasow is an important proof-of-concept for this technology. It is clearly going to be invaluable in the future to help us understand more about the ecology and limited distribution of this critically endangered bird as well as other little known species.”
Andrew Whitworth from the Crees Foundation and the University of Glasgow was also on the expedition. He said: “We have fantastic videos of these charismatic bears – they were very playful with the camera traps, the footage shows them sniffing, licking and nosing the cameras.
“This is much needed good news story for this threatened species; something we need to hear more of in conservation.”
Cerros del Sira is located close to the Peruvian Andes but is isolated, meaning that it hosts a unique range of species, however, at this moment they are poorly understood.
The expedition was supported by The Neville Schulman Challenge Award from The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), IdeaWild and CrowdFunder, with HandyKam providing discounts on camera equipment.