April 11, 2012
On an occasional basis mongabay.com highlights a video or film. Any views expressed in these clips are those of the filmmaker/producer and do not necessarily reflect the views or endorsement of mongabay.com.
A video camera trap project called Eyes on Leuser has captured wonderful footage of a very curious herd of Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) in the island's Leuser ecosystem (see below). The project has already documented a wealth of species, including imperiled and elusive animals like the Sumatran tiger, marbled cat, and white-winged duck.
Given dramatic deforestation in Sumatra, the elephants, which compose a unique subspecies on the island, have recently been downgraded to Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
The video camera trapping project has been taking footage in Leuser lowlands that was logged in the 1990s, but now heads into the mountains.
"This month we'll leave the secondary lowland forest for Leuser's extremely vast, wild and remote mountain area in search of new species like the sumatran serow, the hoogerwerf's pheasant, the clouded leopard, "mountain" tigers living above 2500 meters and who knows the rarest of the rare... the sumatran rhino," reads a recent blog entry fro the project.
Despite its ecological importance, the Leuser ecosystem is imperiled by logging (both legal and illegal), road building, palm oil plantations, poaching, and corruption. Deforestation is a rampant issue in Indonesia, imperiling biodiversity and ecosystem services such as clean water and carbon sequestration.
Note: Project creator, Marten Slothouwer, says that the people at the end of the video are bird catchers who may also be looking for other species such as pangolin and slow loris, both of which are desirable in the blackmarket wildlife trade.
The project is an initiative of Marten Slothouwer and the Leuser Ecosystem Management Authority.
To see more videos: Eyes on Leuser blog.