A Camera Filmed a Tree for a Year—Here's What It Saw

A curious bear cub rushes back towards its mother. Deer follow one another through the snow. An Italian wolf takes a moment to relieve itself next to a bush. These animals—and their intimate moments in the wild—were all captured in new footage shot over the span of 365 consecutive days.

Photographers Bruno D'Amicis and Umberto Esposito pointed their camera at a single beech tree in Italy's National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise and recorded at the location from June 2016 to May 2017.

In the four seasons chronicled on the camera, an assortment of bears, wolves, badgers, deer, and wild boars can be seen as they pass by the tree. Some walk by, while others pause to take a sniff or use the nearby tree for a back rub. (Watch "Rotting 'Carcass Cam' Gives Unique View of Hungry Wolves")

D'Amicis said the rub tree chosen for the year-long project—where bears rub their backs to mark their territory—was “special” because it served as a crossroad of smells, signals, and messages left behind by the “extraordinary wildlife.”

Of all the footage however, a top highlight, D'Amicis said, was the sighting of endangered Marsican brown bears. Also known as Apennine brown bears, this critically endangered subspecies of the brown bear has a range restricted to Abruzzo National Park and the surrounding areas. (Read "Wolves and Bears Stage Comeback in Crowded, Urban Europe")

The duo said they were hoping to capture animals in “ways that the public don’t normally get to see.”

D'Amicis told the Daily Mail that he hopes the video conveys a message of conservation: “I am glad that many people can understand the importance of those unique forests and realize that even in a country like Italy, so densely populated, there is still an abundance of wildlife worth preserving.”

Follow Casey Smith on Twitter.

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