October 4, 2012

Eight new rainforest mammals discovered

Eight mammal species thought to be new recently discovered in Peruvian rainforest

Surprising the whole world of science, a team of researchers from Peru and Mexico have just revealed their finding of a probable eight new mammal species in the Tabaconas-Namballe National Sanctuary, which covers 32,000 hectares (70,000 acres) in the cloud forests of the Peruvian Amazon.

The probable “new” mammals include a night monkey, a porcupine, an olingo (a raccoon-like tree-dwelling animal), a marsupial, a shrew, four rodents and what the research scientists believe could be a new species of gray fox.

The lead scientists on the team – Horacio Zeballos of Peru and Gerardo Ceballos of Mexico – surveyed the Sanctuary between 2009 and 2011, but are hoping to return again for further research next month.  Ceballos claims that: “if there are this many new large species, imagine what we might find from the insect world.”

Locals also say that there is an unusual porcupine with orange-skin that can occasionally be seen in the cloud forest Sanctuary which is around the size of Malta.  Until now, some 85 mammals, 326 birds and 23 reptile species have been found there, including mountain tapir and spectacled bear.

The area has similar biodiversity to other protected areas in the Peruvian Amazon.  The higher area of forest around Cutivireni, where the UK NGO Cool Earth partners with indigenous communities to protect the trees, is also home to tapir and spectacled bears.  A new mammal species was discovered there in 2002.

This recent research adds weight to the argument that cloud forest may possess the highest biodiversity of all rainforest types.  Yet in both the regions mentioned above, logging and the expanding agricultural frontier are both serious threats which urgently need counteracting.

Source: Mongabay and Cool Earth



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