“It is always a thrill to look at our camera trap images and videos for the first time. It feels like we are spying on the animals. We never know what we’ll be seeing,” says Lou Jost, co-founder of WLT Ecuadorian partner Fundación EcoMinga, who recently checked the camera traps laid in the Forests in the Sky Reserves for the first time.
The camera trap was set on a new trail built by the Keepers of the Wild working on the newly created reserves, at 3,200m above sea level between cloud forest and alpine shrubland habitats.
Hunting falcon races down trail
One of the gems caught on the camera was a Collared Forest-falcon, which has never before been seen in one of EcoMinga’s reserves. This falcon has a large range over Latin America but is rarely seen due to its elusive behaviour and thick, forested habitat.
It was seen half running, half flying down the forest trail, most likely on the hunt for small mammals or birds. The footage highlights the falcon’s unusual hunting behaviour- running and catching its prey on the ground. Keeping close to the forest floor while scouting for a potential, as shown in the video below, allows this species to locate prey with its acute sense of hearing.
Spectacled Bear tweaks camera trap
One hazard of leaving out a camera trap in an Andean cloud forest is the curiosity of Spectacled Bears. Although one video caught a Spectacled Bear traversing the same path as the falcon at dusk, another bear investigated the camera, leaving the lens (rather inconveniently) covered by a leaf.
This camera trap was placed in one of the new properties purchased by EcoMinga using the funds raised by supporters of WLT’s Forests in the Sky appeal. The cameras are being placed to monitor the wildlife using the cloud forest corridor.
Keepers of the Wild Luis, Fausto, Santiago and Jesus Recalde, working on the active protection of this reserve, are hoping their cameras will continue to show evidence of mammals such as Spectacled Bear, Puma and Mountain Tapir.