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  • Writer's pictureLeonardo Merçon

Puma "captured" by a camera trap in Brazil.

A window into wildlife: Images captured by a camera trap reveal the diversity of the Atlantic Forest. Animals on the trail of Forno Grande State Park. Photo: Leonardo Merçon | Instituto Últimos Refúgios

The dense, mysterious, and endangered Atlantic Forest reveals itself as a stage where wildlife unfolds in its most beautiful forms.

In this journey, I, a nature photographer passionate about forests, joined forces with my friend Joarley Rodrigues to uncover the secrets of this wild kingdom using equipment we built ourselves—a high-resolution camera trap.

We were producing images for the book “Últimos Refúgios: Da Pedra Azul ao Forno Grande” and our mission was to photograph the region's beauties in this latest project by Instituto Últimos Refúgios. The highlight of this narrative is the majestic puma, one of the species that reigns in this fascinating forest.

To immortalize these unique moments, we relied on our "Nighttime Photographic Contraption" (PFN), a high-resolution camera triggered by a motion sensor, transforming into a true photographic studio in the forest's shadows.

Artistic Montage

Therefore, the image illustrating this article may seem like a single scene, but it is actually a mosaic of different moments captured on different days.

This montage allows us to compare the real size of each photographed animal, bringing us closer to the wild reality in a deeper way.

Thus, it was in Forno Grande State Park that we finally captured a high-resolution photograph of a wild puma in Espírito Santo.

We had been trying to produce this image for some years, but it is extremely difficult to capture a photo of this animal in the Atlantic Forest with quality.

Here, they have learned that humans are dangerous, and when one of them gets too close to us, the outcome is almost always tragic for them. Alongside it, other characters display their beauty: the Crab-eating fox, the Crab-eating raccoon, and a pair of rail birds.

Special Equipment

Our camera trap is a reliable ally in this journey. Conceived in 2011 to photograph the ocelot at Instituto Terra for Sebastião Salgado, and improved over the years, this camera allows us to capture the essence of wildlife in its natural habitat and in high resolution.

Strategically camouflaged among the foliage, it blends with nature, patiently waiting for the slightest movement to trigger.

As nature photographers, we have a mission even nobler than just eternalizing precious moments. Protecting these animals and their habitat is a priority in our work.

Every photograph is a small piece of the conservation puzzle. It is also important to emphasize that each click is made with respect and ethics.


I invite you, the reader, to join this journey, to connect with this wonderful biodiversity we have in Brazil.

Few places in the world are privileged to have what we have here. Take the opportunity to learn more about our work and how photography can be a powerful tool for environmental conservation. Visit our website, participate in our initiatives, and support this important cause.

This is an invitation to be enchanted by the spectacle of wildlife. Welcome to this passionate and inspiring adventure!


Nature photographer and cinematographer, founder of Instituto Últimos Refúgios, Master in Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development, passionate about the environment! Join me on this incredible journey of wildlife discoveries and see more beautiful stories as I constantly explore nature.


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