Conservationists are celebrating this week as camera traps captured images and video of the elusive Sira Currasow bird and the rare Andean spectacled bear, deep inside the remote Cerros del Sira, Peru.
The success is hard earned, with biologists from the Universities of Exeter and Glasgow along with scientists from Peru, having spent weeks trekking through rugged and challenging terrain to position the traps back in March 2015. Incredibly, the team then had to retrace their route months later to retrieve the results.
In addition to the Sira Currasow and the spectacled bear they documented 145 species of bird, 41 species of amphibian, 10 species of lizard and 7 species of snake, of which it is thought that two lizards and three frogs are new species, previously unknown to science.
A very proud Dr Chris Beirne from the University of Exeter said: ‘The results of our expedition and these incredible videos highlight the importance of the Sira Communal Reserve in maintaining biodiversity in the region.’
The Sira Currasow was first described in the 1970s, but then vanished for 30 years. The population is believed to number fewer than 250 mature individuals and to be in decline. Prior to this expedition, only one photograph of the bird was in existence.
Only designated a reserve in 2001, the Cerros del Sira covers a wide range of altitudes from 600 to 2400m. It is close to the main Peruvian Andes, but ecologically isolated, meaning that it hosts a unique, but poorly understood range of species.
The expedition was generously supported by The Neville Schulman Challenge Award from The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), IdeaWild and by members of the public on CrowdFunder.