A series of fascinating images of pandas and other rare species taken on hidden cameras in their natural habitat were released today.
The giant panda, red panda, Tibetan stump-tailed macaque, takin and leopard are all regarded as endangered by the WWF.
So to gain a better understanding of them, the wildlife charity set up a dozen camera traps in the mountainous giant panda reserves of the Sichuan Province in China.
It is believed by setting up special conservation areas for the giant panda – China’s national animal – other endangered animals within the same natural habitat will also be protected.
The WWF released the images today to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity.
In the pictures, the likes of giant pandas, red pandas, golden pheasants and Tibetan stump-tailed macaques are all seen wandering around the wild terrain.
The benefit of camera traps is that there is practically zero human interference which helps give scientists a more accurate idea of how the species behave in the wild.
More than 100 infrared camera traps were placed in six nature reserves by WWF and its partners from the local forestry authority as part of the monitoring effort under the giant panda conservation programme.
The WWF says its conservation officers have gained a better understanding of the identification of animal traces and areas of their activities.
Fan Zhiyong, director of WWF species programme in China, said: “The images demonstrate that through the conservation of the giant panda, a flagship umbrella species, we can also protect other threatened wildlife from the same habitat and preserve biological diversity.”
Jiang Zeyin, species programme officer at WWF China, added: “The multimedia materials are obtained under circumstances where there was little external disturbance and therefore they truly reflect the conditions of those species in the wild.”
There are more than 6,500 species of vertebrates in China, representing 14 per cent of the global total – making it one of 12 globally recognised “mega diversity” countries.
However, because of habitat loss and human development, the overall biodiversity in China is in decline, despite improvements in some places.
The population of more than ten flagship species in China, which include Amur tigers, musk deer and the Yangtze finless porpoise, are among a number of creatures which have undergone a marked decline.