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Gotcha! 7 Of The World’s Most Elusive Animals Caught On Film

(ENDANGERED SPECIES/ANIMAL PICTURES) We shared some exciting news with you recently with our report on the saola sighting in Vietnam. After 15 years without a trace, a camera trap in the Central Annamite Mountains managed to snap a photo of one of the Earth’s rarest mammals.

What’s even more thrilling is the saola isn’t the only elusive creature being discovered. Thanks to strategically placed, motion-sensitive cameras and amazing advancements in technology, other rarely seen endangered animals have also been spotted.

1. Saola

428539 Gotcha! 7 Of The Worlds Most Elusive Animals Caught On Film

A rarely seen saola was captured on film by the conservation group WWF’s camera trap on September 7, 2013. This breathtaking shot was  the elusive mammals first known photo in 15 years. Photo Credit: WWF

There are less than a few hundred of these antelope-like, double-horned oxen living in Vietnam. The saola was first discovered in remote mountains near Laos in 1992, but had not been seen in the wild since 1998. After being photographed in September, animal conservationists recruited local forest guards to remove any illegal hunting snares in the area—the greatest threat to the saola’s survival.

 

2. Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard Cub S. KachelPantheraAcademy of Sciences TajikistanU. Delaware 630x352 Gotcha! 7 Of The Worlds Most Elusive Animals Caught On Film

This adorable snow leopard cub was captured on video with his/her sibling and mother in the mountains of Tajikistan. The endangered cat’s survival is at risk because of greedy poachers killing them for their fur and body parts. Photo credit: S. Kachel/Panthera/Academy of Sciences Tajikistan/U. Delaware

Native to the Central Asian mountains, the endangered snow leopard is a rare sight, with just around 6,000 left in the wild. This little cutie was captured on a camera trap last year prowling the mountains of Tajikistan with his/her sibling and mother on a camera trap set-up by Panthera, a wild cat conservation group. These amazing animals are in dramatic decline due to illegal poaching by hunters for their beautiful fur and body parts, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

 

3. Giant Squid

Giant Squid News.Discovery.com  Gotcha! 7 Of The Worlds Most Elusive Animals Caught On Film

Japanese scientists film the legendary giant squid in the Pacific depths. Japan’s National Science Museum teamed with Japanese public broadcaster NHK and the US Discovery Channel to obtain first time ever footage of the giant squid in its natural habitat. Photo credit: News.Discovery.com

The mystery behind the ultimate sea legend may be solved! For the first time ever, a giant squid, the creature believed to have inspired the Norse myth of the sea monster known as “The Kraken,” was caught on film in its natural habitat. After rigorous research, scientists last year tracked the the massive invertebrate, with its oversized eyes and huge body, to an area about 600-miles south of Tokyo. Here, a three-man crew in a submersible descended the dark, cold depths of the Pacific Ocean for more than 2000 feet to capture this history-making footage.

 

4. Oncilla

rare bolivian cat oncilla Guido Ayala Maria Viscarra and Robert WallaceWCS Gotcha! 7 Of The Worlds Most Elusive Animals Caught On Film

This picture of the elusive Bolivian cat species called an oncilla won a BBC Wildlife camera-trap photo competition. Taken in Mididi National Park, these extremely rare felines are smaller than most house cats. Photo credit: Guido Ayala, Maria Viscarra, and Robert Wallace/WCS

Now for a definite awww moment! This rarely seen oncilla was caught on a camera trap in Bolivia’s Madidi National Park. The adorable little guy is the smallest feline roaming South America’s lowlands. Hardly ever seen—never mind photographed—this picture is actually the first known record of the elusive oncilla in this park.

5. Pink Hippo

Pink Hippo Caters News Agency Gotcha! 7 Of The Worlds Most Elusive Animals Caught On Film

This rare pink hippo stands out from the rest of the pack in this aerial shot capturing it bathing in waters in Zambia, Africa. The unusual color is caused by a condition called leucistic. Photo credit: Caters News Agency

No you’re not drunk! This is a Pink HIPPO, not elephant, and extremely rare. This aerial photo, taken by photographer Marc Mol in November of 2011, captures the unique mammal attempting to blend in with his/her normal-hued relatives while bathing in waters in South Luangwa, Zambia, Africa. Contrary to popular belief the unusual hippopotamus is not albino, but leucistic, a condition where the pigmentation of cells in an animal fail to develop properly. While that could prove extremely dangerous for the survival of most animals—leaving them more visible to predators and at risk of sunburn—the hippos’ tremendous size allows them to defend themselves against attackers, while their sweat works as a natural sunscreen.

 

6. Right Whale

Right Whale John Ford DFO1 Gotcha! 7 Of The Worlds Most Elusive Animals Caught On Film

This rare right whale was spotted near Victoria, BC, off the entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait. Photo credit: John Ford, DFO

The right whale is the rarest of all whales in the world. It’s no wonder since in more than sixty years the majestic creature has been spotted only twice in British Columbia waters, with the most recent sighting on October 26th 2013. The discovered endangered animal is approximately fifty-six feet long and was seen near Victoria, BC mixing it up with a group of humpback whales. It’s currently estimated that less than fifty right whales live in the eastern North Pacific.

 

7. Florida Panther

Florida Panther US Fish Wildlife Service Gotcha! 7 Of The Worlds Most Elusive Animals Caught On Film

A rarely seen Florida panther is pictured carrying her kitten to a new location. It is believed the mother may have been moving the cub to drier ground after heavy rains. The Florida panther is at risk of dying out due to car fatalities from heavily congested roads in the area. Photo credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

There’s nothing like a mother’s love and that’s obvious in this photo of a Florida panther carrying her cub to their new den. This rare sighting was captured last year by motion-sensitive camera traps. What’s so amazing is there are at most 160 of these endangered big cats, with this being the first uncollared female ever photographed. Many Florida panthers carry radio collars that allow biologists to track their movements. Although they still enjoy a relatively high birth rate, the cats seem to die as quickly as they breed. The most common cause is being struck by a motor vehicle, and the rapid development of Florida’s wild habitat is only expected to make things worse.

These photos are definitely cute and fun to see, but even more importantly they’re helping us discover more about these elusive endangered animals. Any new information we learn will help scientists, politicians, and individuals make better decisions on how to best protect these species and their survival.

— Lisa Singer, exclusive to Global Animal

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