The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) scientists have been working on an enormous project: building an extensive database of the wide array of wildlife in the sprawling Amazon Basin.
For this study, an international team of 147 scientists hailing from 122 research institutions and nature conservation organizations has captured more than 120,000 images captured in eight countries. The study, led by German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena represents the largest photo database of Amazonian wildlife yet.
Between 2001 and 2020, the camera traps have taken over 57,000 snapshots of 289 species from 143 field sites. These species include powerful jaguars and their cubs, a giant anteater, short-eared dogs, tapirs, white-lipped peccaries, harpy eagles, toucans, pumas, Andean bears, and many more. For the first time, images from camera traps from different regions of the Amazon have been collected and standardized on a remarkably large scale.
The WCS is building this database to keep track of Amazonian wildlife while also documenting habitat loss, fragmentation, and the impact of climate change. The Amazon Basin, which spreads through Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela, covers almost 3.2 million square miles.
“WCS scientists were proud to collaborate with such a diverse group of scientists and organizations on this important study,” says Said Robert Wallace, Director of WCS’s Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape Program, and a co-author of the study. “The tens of thousands of images WCS provided will serve as critical data points to show where wildlife occurs and the staggering diversity of species found in the Amazon region.”