This nighttime photo represents some of the world's first ever visual evidence of the spotted deer species found on the island of Negros in the Philippines. Despite its size, the island's unimaginably dense forests have kept it invisible until now.

Admittedly, the spotted deer was hardly undocumented, as there are a few examples of the species in captivity. But nobody had ever photographed one in the wild before a recent expedition deep into the island's brutal jungle. The researchers were also able to get the first wild photographs of the warty pig, another larger mammal species native to the dense forests that had until now evaded detection.


The team set 20 camera traps, which were able to photograph the animals without disturbing them. Part of what has kept these species so isolated is that the forest "interior" is located on a narrow plateau nearly a mile above sea level, and there are no permanent access points to the area. In an interview, team leader Dr. Neil D'Cruze compared the region to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World, detailing the ridiculous lengths they had to go to just for a few photographs:

"The traps allowed us to see animals we knew were there, but never laid eyes on during our time in the forest. After spending 12 very hard days camped in some of the worst field conditions I have experienced (with) lashing rain and just impenetrable forest … we did not actually see the animals with our own eyes. The only way we could find access was through a tree that had fallen, which we walked across. Once that tree goes, who knows how access will be gained."


For more photographs, check out this gallery over at BBC News. There's also a great rundown on the expedition and the species themselves over at the Telegraph.

Photo by N. D'Cruze and J. Sawyer.