You’ve been framed

Posted on March 3, 2011

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Golden snub-nose monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in China

Photographing wildlife is no easy task. As soon as you pull out a moving or stills camera, the elusive buggers are nowhere to be seen. This is probably why natural history documentaries take so long to produce.

I was very fortunate to film wild chimps in the forests of West Uganda last year, but there was a large part of me that was worried I’d come back with diddly-squat.

But one institute in Washington has decided to beat the animals at their own game and has laid hundreds of camera traps in habitats around the world. The results aim to provide scientists with valuable insights into animal behaviour away from prying human eyes.

This Golden Snub-nose monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in China was caught on film after it’s movement activated the camera. Its expression is so comical, I can almost hear it saying “uh-oh!”.

These ambushes are helping scientists at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, to learn about more the world’s shiest creatures in the wild. It has launched an extensive photo database of these candid snapshots (click on the link to see the images).

The collection includes more than 200 different kinds of mammals and birds from the far-flung corners of the globe and has more than two hundred thousand shots. There is a section dedicated to primates, with quite a few monkey species, but if I put my loyalties aside for a moment; the images of some of the big cats are breath-taking, especially the Jaguar in the Peruvian Amazon.

Olive baboon (Papio anubis) in Kenya, East Africa

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