April 15, 2013

New porcupine discovered

A new species of tree dwelling porcupine discovered in Brazil

The Brazilian rainforests reveals yet another fascinating new species despite ingoing deforestation and habitat destruction. Details of this new species were published recently in an issue of the Brazilian Zootaxa journal. The creature was discovered by a team of researchers led by Antonio Rossano Mendes Pontes, a biologist at the Federal University of Pernambuco.

The stark reality is that the porcupine is exposed to a very high risk of extinction since around 98% of its forest habitat has been destroyed and its population is fragmented like the forests it inhabits. In-breeding alone could weaken the species. Hunting by locals is another serious threat and common reality.

They discovered the porcupine in a small forest fragment in the state of Pernambuco. Christeningd the rodent Coendou speratus, a combination of its local name “coandu-mirim” and the Latin word “speratus” for “hope”, the team showed an ironic sense of humour mixed perhaps with a glimmer of light.

The porcupine’s habitat – Northeastern Atlantic Forest – is the most endangered habitat in Brazil with much already logged and converted for agriculture or cattle ranching. Many of the species that originally inhabited the region are now locally extinct. The Northeastern Atlantic Forest is part of the much wider Atlantic Forest ecosystem that once extended from Northeast Brazil to Argentina. Now less than 10 percent of it’s original forest cover remains.



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