New giant elephant-shrew species discovered in Kenya?


This video from the USA shows a giant elephant shrew; filmed at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

From Wildlife Extra:

Possible new species of Giant elephant-shrew discovered in Kenya

16/09/2010 15:57:59

Elusive elephant-shrew found in African forest

September 2010. A giant elephant-shrew species recently discovered in a remote African forest may be new to science. Conservationists researching the biodiversity of the Boni-Dodori forest on the coast of north-eastern Kenya were thrilled to capture pictures of the bizarre mammal.

Camera traps were set up in the remote forest after Grace Wambui, a fellow of The Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) EDGE of Existence programme spotted an elusive elephant-shrew she didn’t recognise in the area. ZSL and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) photographed the mystery animal and believe it may be a new species of giant sengi, otherwise known as an elephant-shrew (Macroscelidea).

Not shrews – Closely related to elephants!

There are currently only 17 species of elephant-shrew known to science, all endemic to Africa. The animals are more closely related to elephants than shrews, despite being relatively small creatures, and got their peculiar name because of their long, flexible, trunk-like nose.

ZSL senior field conservation biologist, Dr Rajan Amin said: “This is an important discovery. The whole team was very excited to capture pictures of this mammal. We will continue our work to document the forest’s rich biodiversity and to determine if this is a new species of elephant-shrew. The findings of our study are highlighting the conservation importance of these unique coastal forests.”

Forest threatened by coastal development

Sam Andanje from the KWS said: “Prior to our study, the biodiversity of the Boni-Dodori forests was poorly understood as a result of limited access due to security problems and poor infrastructure. This discovery has underlined the conservation significance of these isolated forests. Unfortunately, they are highly threatened by on-going rapid coastal development and there is now an urgent need for an effective management plan.”

Galen Rathbun from the California Academy of Sciences said: “Once DNA samples have been collected, we look forward to conducting the genetic analysis required to determine whether or not this is indeed a new species of elephant-shrew. With their ancient and often misunderstood ancestry, their monogamous mating strategies, and their charismatic flexible snouts, they are captivating animals. It is always exciting to describe a new species-a necessary precursor for ensuring that the animals are protected.”

See also here.

New Species of Giant Elephant Shrew Discovered? Here.

This elephant shrew was first captured on camera as recently as 2005: here.

Long-nosed Cape rock elephant-shrews are fond of sticky treats, according to Dr. Petra Wester from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. Her investigations show for the first time that the elephant-shrew, Elephantulus edwardii, licks the nectar of the flowers and pollinates the Pagoda lily. Her results are published in Springer’s journal, Naturwissenschaften – The Science of Nature: here.

A Nairobi newspaper reports that, after consideration of the scientific evidence, Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has decided to advise the Kenyan Government to halt the planting of the biofuel crop jatropha within the Coast region of Kenya. Proposed jatropha plantations would do irreparable damage to coastal Important Bird Areas (IBAs), including the Tana Delta and Dakatcha Woodlands: here.

1 thought on “New giant elephant-shrew species discovered in Kenya?

  1. Pingback: New bat species discovery in Kenya | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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