Rainforest mirror scares leopard and puma during night stroll
By Jamie Smith
A mirror placed in the rainforest has scared both a leopard and puma as they pass the unusual object during the night.
UK wildlife snapper Mark Fernley, 28, has captured this video while continuing the Mirror Image Stimulation Study of big cats found in the lowlands of the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest, of northwestern Brazil.
He began the research in November 2017 in order to observe the animals’ interactions with the mirror and particularly of the big cats of the Amazon.
This video shows a puma reacting to his own reflection as though it’s a competitor.
Mark added: “The animals walk through the forest and stumble upon the mirror and we clearly understand that they do not have the intelligence to know it is ‘self-recognition’.
“When their eyes hit the mirror, it is clearly competitor recognition due to the animal understanding that it is another of its species in the mirror.
“As a wildlife photographer, I find it fascinating to capture Amazonian Cats on film by camera traps.
“The top priority of the M.I.S.S. study is to show the competitive behaviours of neotropical big cats when seeing their reflection, big cats are not the only species that have been caught on his camera traps.
“Many other species including the Tayra (Eira barbara), Agouti (Dasypracta), and the Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus coeruliceps) have discovered the mirrors set up in some of the deepest parts of the Amazon Rainforest.
“By recording the behaviours of all of these different species we will soon have a greater understanding of just how intelligent these animals are.”