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Elusive bush dogs were caught on camera in Panama. This species is rarely seen in the South and the Center of the United States. Automated camera traps have been put in the remote areas of Panama and data collected from them show that the species is more widespread in the country than it has been previously believed.
A new research will be conducted by Ricardo Moreno, who is a Smithsonian research associate will focus on the conservation of this species, that is almost on the brink of being put on the endangered list. According to Moreno, camera traps are spread from the Colombian border to the Costa Rican border and the bush dog is the least photographed species.
The bush dogs usually live in tropical forests, but they have been seen in altered habitats as well. They hunt in packs and when hey chase the prey they yap like puppies do. They eat large rodents from the forests like pacas or agoutis, and some of them eat armadillos. They are active during the day, but they are very hard to spot. The bush dogs have short and stubby legs and they are just one foot long.
These camera traps Panama. that were used for snapping pictures of the bush dogs are used often in wildlife research. They have infrared sensor that detect the body heat of the animals and take pictures when they are activated. The bush dogs were seen at four sites including the Santa Fe National Park and the Cerro Pirre. They were spotted only 11 times during approximately 32,000 camera days. The camera days refer to the number of days multiplied with the number of cameras. According to these snaps, the bush dogs can now be found all across Panama. This species has only been seen in Panama and a few times only near Costa Rica, at the border of Panama. Experts believe that the bush dogs will cross the border and go to Costa Rica in the near future.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the population of the bush dogs has decreased with 25% in the last 12 years, meaning that it will soon be considered endangered if it continues to decrease at this alarming rate. Unlike other animal species in Panama that are mainly threatened by humans, the bush dogs are mostly threatened by the encroachment and by the habitat loss. In the ten year period between 1990 and 2000, 15% of the forests in Panama have been lost. In order to survive, the bush dogs need large areas of forests. As the elusive bush dogs were caught on camera in Panama, more research will be done in order to see if they are in any danger of being extinct.
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