ONE of the world’s most secretive animals has been photographed alive in the wild for the first time.

Researchers from the University of Oxford captured the images of Walter’s duiker, a small African antelope.

The team from the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) was involved in placing 100 camera traps in the Fazao-Malfakassa National Park, Togo.

As well as Walter’s duiker, several other endangered species were caught on camera.

See also: College students sign contracts with Premiership rugby team

Discovered only in 2010, previous existence of the mammal was known through its skulls and carcasses spotted in bush meat markets in Benin, Nigeria and Togo.

David Macdonald, WildCRU’s director, said: “This graceful antelope has displayed a great talent for avoiding scientists, but proven tragically less adept at avoiding nets, snares and hunting dogs.

“Plotting their whereabouts in bush meat markets is roughly analogous to plotting the habits of deer in the UK by mapping their occurrence on butchers’ slabs.

“Camera trapping revolutionises biological survey. An army of cameras sits patient and uncomplaining, immobile for months on end, awaiting an interesting passer-by.”

Read more: Villa volunteers praised for work during pandemic

In total, the study identified 32 mammal species.

Professor Macdonald added: “This is the way to find needles in a metaphorical haystack.

“It also instantly shines a global focus on this important national park in Togo.

“Along with Walter’s duiker, we also found aardvarks and a mongoose called cusimanse, neither of which have previously been recorded in Togo.”