Cameras capture rare animal activity
Hidden cameras are not only the domain of espionage; they are also a vital tool in managing wildlife populations.
The Aspinall Foundation wants to build on its already successful camera trap program in Africa by purchasing 10 more cameras to be located across the 1 million acres protected. Tracking the post-release progress of the gorillas is crucial to ensure that they are thriving in their new surroundings.
Most recently our camera traps obtained the very first footage of a new infant gorilla that was born to one of the Park’s largest family groups. Lembali born to mother Souba has been named with help from our facebook and twitter followers.
The camera traps also enable us to monitor all the species that live within the Park. Ranging from elephants and leopards to small forest antelope and rodents, the Batéké Plateau National Park is brimming with wildlife. The species captured on film serve as a gauge to the health of the Park’s fragile ecosystem.
Please help us to buy 10 camera traps by supporting our crowd funder campaign today. We need your help to reach a target of £5400 by Friday 11th April. Click here to help buy 10 camera traps.
Amos Courage, Director for Overseas Projects said: ‘The Batéké Plateau is an area of incredible biodiversity where many forest and savanna species can be found. Part of our commitment to conservation is taking concrete steps towards preserving areas along with protecting individual species. A large part of this project is building good working partnerships, for example, with the governments of both Congo and Gabon to ensure that this area is safeguarded for future generations.'
Camera traps are an effective and unobtrusive method for conservationists to measure wild animal populations and track the frequency and distribution of their movements. After a relatively short trial period these devices have already yielded a bounty of biodiversity data, including images of leopards, bushbuck, forest elephants, chimpanzees, blue duiker, serval and even the prehistoric aardvark.
Amos commented: ‘Footage like this reinforces the importance of protecting habitats and finding ways to extend this protection beyond the limits of national reserves. The camera traps have proved very successful in providing us with an idea of the amount of species in this area, their numbers and their movements.'
With this new monitoring program up and running, The Aspinall Foundation is anticipating a host of diverse and exciting images which will help to showcase the vital conservation work that the charity is doing in this region as well as providing data for planning conservation management strategies
Protecting more than gorillas in Africa
We are often so focused on The Aspinall Foundation gorilla reintroduction projects that we sometimes forget to mention some of the other species that we help protect in Congo and Gabon. We consider gorillas to be a ‘flagship species’ that act as a focal point for preserving the wider habitat in which they live. This means that in protecting gorillas we also protect many of the other threatened species that are also found in the reserves where we work in Congo and Gabon.
For example in Gabon’s Batéké Plateau National Park, where the gorilla project is located, there is a large population of forest elephants - a distinct species from the taller bush elephant, with straight, downward pointing tusks and rounded ears. The forest elephant is being decimated throughout the Congo Basin by ivory poaching. This illegal trade is being fuelled by rising demand in Asia and the threat is increasing at such a rate that the very existence of the species is now threatened. The Aspinall Foundation is involved in a number of different projects aimed at halting this awful trade including camera trap monitoring, a project with Cornell University and wildlife law enforcement project called PALF.