Hidden Camera, Tiger Tree Hug, Award

Sergey Gorshkov’s image of an Amur tiger, which won him the 2020 wildlife photographer of the year award.

Thanks to Mark Brown, Arts correspondent at the Guardian, for this:

Image of tiger hugging tree wins 2020 wildlife photographer award

Sergey Gorshkov left a hidden camera in a Russian forest for 11 months to capture the big cat

An image of a clearly ecstatic tigress hugging an ancient Manchurian fir tree in a remote Siberian forest has won one of the world’s most prestigious photography prizes.

It took Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov 11 months to capture the moment using hidden cameras. His patience led to him being named 2020 wildlife photographer of the year by the Duchess of Cambridge at a ceremony at London’s Natural History Museum.

The image was selected from more than 49,000, with Roz Kidman Cox, the chair of the judging panel, calling the photograph “a unique glimpse of an intimate moment deep in a magical forest”. Continue reading

Birdcam Sunday


‘Sleek, powerful and yellow-eyed’: an osprey has an irresistible screen presence. Photograph: Cornell Lab Bird Cams

Thanks to Emma Beddington and the Guardian for this story to help put today into a different perspective:


Anyone for Nestflix?: a pair of red-tailed hawks in their nest. Viewing figures for online nestcams are now sky high. Photograph: Cornell Lab Bird Cams

On the webcam it is clear that Telyn is back. Sleek, powerful and yellow-eyed, the osprey has successfully raised a dynasty high above the wind-buffeted grass near the west Wales coast. Last year came Berthyn, Peris and Hesgyn – they sound like Game of Thrones characters. The watchers are waiting for Telyn’s mate, local hero Monty. A magnificent fisherman, heroic provider and model father, he’s been a fixture at the Dyfi Osprey Project since 2008. But where is he?

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Flying over the spire: one of the peregrines that has made itself at home in Salisbury Cathedral. Photograph: James Fisher

“Is Monty back?” says every third post on the webcam’s chatboard. He isn’t – instead, there’s a new pretender on the nest, upstart Idris. He’s doing everything right, ingratiating himself with Telyn, bringing offerings of sea trout and twigs, chasing off intruders and yes, mating. Is this the end for the Burton and Taylor of ospreys? Unswayed by Idris’s can-do attitude and beady-eyed charm, Team Monty is inconsolable. “Still waiting for Monty… His usual slot is mid-afternoon,” says one hopeful post. “Hope Monty is home tomorrow, he is all I have known since 2011, love you, amber eyes,” says another. Still they wait. Continue reading

Camera Trap Treasure


A black bear mother with three cubs. Photo © TNC

Camera traps have proven valuable in the work we have been doing in Belize, India and elsewhere in the wilderness areas of the developing world. But equally important are the photos captured in areas closer to urban settlements. Thanks to The Nature Conservancy’s publication of these photos with the article below:

As a Nature Conservancy forester in Pennsylvania, Mike Eckley spends a lot of time assessing the health of woodlands. That means he spends as much time thinking about white-tailed deer as he does trees.

Many conservation biologists consider over-abundant deer to be an even bigger threat to eastern forests than climate change. Deer can fundamentally change the forest ecosystem, threatening everything from rare wildflowers to migratory songbirds. These deer also can cause deadly vehicle collisions, increase risk of Lyme disease, and cause significant agricultural and property damage.


Two white-tailed deer boxing. Photo © TNC

Eckley educates hunting clubs and landowners on deer management issues, and recently co-edited a book on the topic. He also works to make sure the deer herd is healthy on Conservancy projects like the West Branch Forest Preserve, a 3,000-acre preserve in north central Pennsylvania. Continue reading

Maternal Instinct vs Species Survival


The more time we spend at Chan Chich Lodge the more we see the seasonality of birth patterns in the wild. There clearly seems to be a “baby season”, that starts with the cats and moves down the food chain to their mammalian prey, as well as birds. Although no photo captures, several jaguar cubs were sighted earlier in the year, followed by dozens of fawns and baby collared peccary. Even the Gallon Jug Farm has welcomed 4 baby horses to the fold, with a fifth on the way…but we’ll talk about that another day.

This unusual news from Panthera.org, an important Big Cat Conservation NGO who uses our 30,000 acres as part of their Jaguar Corridor research, perhaps makes a little bit of sense within the context of those patterns.

We thank Susie Weller Sheppard for sharing these field notes.

Earlier this week, Panthera President and Chief Conservation Officer Dr. Luke Hunter received photos from our partners at KopeLion with some astonishing content: the first-ever evidence of a wild lioness nursing a leopard cub.

Taken on Tuesday by a Ndutu Lodge guest in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the images show a 5-year-old lioness, known locally as ‘Nosikitok,’ suckling a leopard cub estimated to be just 3 weeks old. Continue reading

Tapping The Largest Animal For Science


Ari Friedlaender, a marine ecologist at Oregon State University, deploying a multi-sensor tag on a blue whale off the California coast. Credit Jeremy Goldbogen

Camera traps, in the interest of science, and of conservation, are no longer a novelty. The story accompanying the photo above is new, for us. At first glance it looks like an act of aggression, which the history of whaling has taught us to expect. But this story has a much better outcome than the old obsessions:

How to Attach a Video Camera to a Humpback Whale

This is how you put a video camera on a whale.

Hop into an inflatable boat and head out to where they’re feeding. Stand in a pulpit with a 20-some-foot pole in your hands. Then watch and wait until you spot a whale. Plan your angle of approach with the driver of the boat. (Never approach directly from behind). Get close. Get closer. Get within 16 feet of this sea giant — which is more than twice the size of your boat if it’s a humpback — and as soon as it surfaces, tap the whale on its wet tire of a back with the pole. If you’re lucky, the detachable suction-cup on the end of the pole — which has a camera and sensors — will stick. Continue reading

From Behind the Camera Trap

Ocelot curious about the red light of the camera

Ocelot curious about the red light of the camera

For years the camera traps at Chan Chich Reserve have been capturing images of wildlife both day and night. In addition to helping to document the size and health of the population of a specific species within the reserve, the cameras also capture the particular behavior of the species.

Continue reading

Camera Trap, Australia Edition

Thanks to the Nature Conservancy’s blog for this addition to our growing file of stories about non-intrusive filming of wild animals in remote places:

Camera Trapping in the Australian Desert


When trying to drink out of a tiny waterhole, camels hit approximately a 9.5 on a scale from 1 to Exceptionally Awkward. Continue reading

The Gift Of The Camera Trap


Three week old male ocelot kitten. Photo courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service

Thanks to Matt Miller and TNC’s Cool Green Science:

Camera Trap Captures Images of Texas Ocelot Kittens

Great news for ocelots: This year, several females with kittens were documented in South Texas using remote cameras.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a public service announcement brimming with good news, including the first ocelot den documented in 20 years on Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, and ocelots with kittens on the Yturria Ranch, a private ranch protected by conservation easements held by The Nature Conservancy and USFWS. Continue reading

Walking on the Wildside

Camera Trap photo: Natgeo Instagram

Camera Trap photo: Natgeo Instagram

The photo above is a reminder that amazing camera trap captures of wildlife needn’t be limited to remote areas, or even exotic locations.

Bobcat takes a ‘selfie’ above Golden Gate Bridge

Seldom seen, bobcats rarely will stand still for a photo.

But every once in a while the shy, nocturnal feline will take a selfie — although not intentionally, of course.

This one triggered a remote camera hidden on a ridge in the Marin Headlands overlooking San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. The camera was set up by National Geographic photographer Steve Winter.

The photo was posted today on the National Geographic’s Instagram account, but it’s apparently several years old. Continue reading

Big Weather & Big Cats At Chan Chich Lodge

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is of interest because it is a pioneer in conservation in Belize–as Chan Chich Lodge is in its own way. But in writing about it Vicky Croke, for The Wild Life at WBUR (National Public Radio, Boston, USA), reminds a few of us of our time in Belize during Earl, and the aftermath during which jaguar sitings have been, and continue to be, inexplicably spectacular:

Jaguars Interrupted: Counting Big Cats After A Hurricane

Two months after Earl hit Belize, researchers at the world’s first jaguar reserve are still taking stock.

By Vicki Croke

This past summer, within days of gathering spectacular camera-trap footage of a female jaguar and her two tiny cubs sauntering through the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize, field scientists with Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, got the news that a tropical storm was forming and might just come their way. Continue reading

Camera Traps Capturing Big, Odd Charisma

Bison trigger a camera trap set up on the prairie at The Nature Conservancy's Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. These behemoths are known as key grassland ecosystem engineers. Their grazing patterns play a key role in growing plant diversi

Bison trigger a camera trap set up on the prairie at The Nature Conservancy’s Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

We have posted on this topic a few times, and can predict there will be more:

9 Animal Cams You Need in Your Life

Panthera onca

video taken by author on August 5th

Chan Chich is known for being pretty much the best place in Belize to spot a jaguar (scientific name, Panthera onca) in the wild, given the Lodge’s huge amount of protected land (30,000 acres) adjacent to hundreds of thousands of acres similarly preserved, or under government conservation that together form the international Jaguar Corridor Initiative.

The word Panthera comes from the ancient Greek pánthēr (πάνθηρ), which essentially means “predator of everything,” and is a scientific genus comprised of the five big cat species in the world: snow leopards, tigers, lions, jaguars, and leopards. The latter four of these are the only cats that can roar, given morphological differences in their bones and throat.

Continue reading

Animal Kingdom Selfies

This tiger has emerged from a cooling mud bath at Manas National Park in India. Researchers can identify individual tigers based on their unique array of stripes. Credit: WWF-India. Courtesy of “Candid Creatures: How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature,” by Roland Kays (May 2016, Johns Hopkins University Press

Once again, Science Friday has come through with a cool article about an interesting subject. It contains excerpts from a new book containing images from camera traps, which are good research tools for animals that try to avoid humans. We’ve featured the devices a lot as a result, and now we get to continue doing so. Julie Leibach reports:

A new book of unabashed selfies has been released, but it reveals neither hide nor hair of a Kardashian. There is, however, plenty of hide and hair. Candid Creatures: How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature, by zoologist Roland Kays, is an album of wildlife photos captured with camera traps—devices that researchers install in the field to record members of the animal kingdom as they lope, scamper, or climb about their business. Kays’ book is also a rich summary of the insights that scientists have gained from using these tools.

Continue reading