First video traps deployed this April by the WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi provide striking new footage of iconic wildlife living in the 3500km2 Bogani Nani landscape.

In the first week, WCS recorded Critically Endangered black-crested macaques (endemic to Sulawesi) getting facetime with the camera while “chattering” – a varied behaviour that in this case is most likely indicative of a curiosity with the camera. See the video of an individual chattering and then trying to pull the camera from the tree it is fastened to (here).

Two other noteworthy species caught on camera include the endemic Sulawesi warty pig (shown here) and a flock of endangered maleos (also endemic). Maleos lay their eggs in sand for incubation by the heat generated by underground hot springs at inland sites or by the sun on coastal beaches. Still, what the video traps have yet to confirm is the presence of the endemic Sulawesi civet, which at only 6 kg is remarkably the island’s apex predator.

“Our initial results are already providing very exciting insights into Sulawesi’s unexplored rainforests as you can see with these quirky characters showing up in the video traps,” said WCS Indonesia Country Director Dr. Noviar Andayani.

In collaboration with the Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park authority, WCS will conduct the first full-scale camera trapping campaign across North Sulawesi, a region where it has been working to conserve wildlife and their habitat for over 18 years. 

The importance and uniquiness of the island’s biodiversity was summed up by WCS’s Northern Sulawesi Coordinator, Iwan Hunowu, who said, “Sixty-seven percent of Sulawesi’s mammals are endemic, but if you remove bats this rises to 99 percent. There are 72 endemic mammal species. The camera trap results will be critical in informing our conservation strategy.”

The camera traps, which are activated by motion sensors, provide photos and videos that will aid our scientists in identifying the presence of rare and endemic species, as well as mapping their abundance across the vast landscape. The results will be used to identify important forest habitat, such as wildlife corridors, in need of protection.