Endangered Tree Kangaroos Fitted With CritterCams Reveal Wildlife Mysteries, New Species (Video)
Screenshot via National Geographic Video
The elusive and endangered tree kangaroo of New Guinea is tough to study. But some have been fitted with video cameras that are showing scientists incredible treetop footage, as well as revealing mysteries about the lives of tree kangaroos that can help conservationists protect the species. Check out the video of how scientists and local hunters fit the tree kangaroos with cameras, and some of the amazing footage of life in the canopy. National Geographic reports that the animals face threats from a growing human population on the islands where they live, as well as being killed by subsistence hunters. Because they're endangered and their canopy habitat is remote, they're difficult to study. But hunters and scientists are working together to fit them with cameras that help researchers find out more about them so that the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program can be more effective.
What is really amazing is how they're fitted. Hunters climb a tree where a tree kangaroo is hanging out and coax it to jump to the ground where other hunters wait. Once on the ground, it is captured, gently fitted with a camera by scientists and released. No tranquilizer darts or anesthesia is used.
Even a new species of orchid was discovered, thanks to the video cameras.
The project has been vital to conservation efforts for both the tree kangaroo and its habitat. In 2009, the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program led the way in getting 187,000 acres of tree kangaroo habitat in Papua New Guinea set aside as a designated Conservation Area.