New frog species discovery in Peru

Sleeping beauty rain frog, photo Germán Chávez

From Science, Space & Robots:

Newly Discovered Rain Frog Named After Sleeping Beauty Mountains

Posted on August 11, 2016

A new species of rain frog has been discovered in the premontane forests of the Peruvian central Andes. The frog has been named after the Sleeping Beauty mountains. This is the local name for the mountains where the frog lives. The Bella Durmiente (Sleeping beauty) mountain chain … is named for its resemblance to a sleeping woman.

The frog’s scientific name is Pristimantis pulchridormientes. “Pulcher” is Latin for beautiful and “dormientes” means sleeping. The common name for the new frog species is Sleeping beauty rain frog.

The frog has bright-red groins, shanks and thighs. It has a yellowish-brown body. The frog was discovered and described by Drs German Chavez, Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad (CORBIDI), and Alessandro Catenazzi, affiliated with both CORBIDI and Southern Illinois University.

Dr. Chavez says in the announcement, “When we heard the chorus of males, first thought was: such a strange call! When we saw this amazing frog, we knew that it is a new species. No other frog has that bright red colour on rear limbs!”

A research paper on the newly discovered frog species can be found here in the journal ZooKeys.

Helping grounded seabirds in Peru

This 23 November 2015 video from Peru says about itself:

Ringed Storm-Petrel Exam

From the American Bird Conservancy on this:

Video: Grounded Seabirds Find Help in Lima

By ABC Staff

November 25, 2015

Ringed Storm-Petrels are mysterious birds. Scientists don’t know much about them. However, they do know that fledgling storm-petrels get stranded in large numbers every year in the sprawling coastal city of Lima, Peru.

The grounded seabirds—on their way to the open ocean for the first time—are attracted to the city’s bright lights, become disoriented, and ultimately drop to the ground.

Yovana Murillo and Betto Delgado are wildlife veterinarians who are working to educate citizens of Lima on what to do when they find these injured, exhausted birds. Their Ringed Storm-Petrel Project has so far rescued nearly 500 grounded seabirds. After rehabilitating these birds, they return them to the wild.

In this video, Dr. Murillo examines one of the tiny seabirds that was grounded in Lima.

Seabirds like these tend to be “out of sight, out of mind” for most people, in spite of the fact that this group of birds is among the most endangered on Earth. Learn more about seabirds like the Laysan Albatross and Black-capped Petrel, and how we’re working with partners to conserve them.

Peruvian dog’s world skateboarding record

This video says about itself:

Otto the skateboarding bulldog – Guinness World Records

The longest human tunnel traveled through by a dog skateboarder is 30 people and was achieved by Otto the Skateboarding Bulldog in Lima, Peru, on November 8 2015. Read full story here.

Otto does skimboarding as well.

New monkey species discovery in Peru

Urubamba brown titi

From New Scientist:

7 August 2015

New species of titi monkey discovered in remote Peruvian forest

A new species of monkey has been discovered on an expedition to the remote Urubamba river in Amazonian Peru. It has been named the Urubamba brown titi, Callicebus urubambensis.

Titis are the largest group of South American monkeys, and the discovery pushes the number of known species to 34, though the exact number is still a matter of some debate. Most are the size of a domestic cat, live in small family groups and defend their territories with howl-like roars.

“Its appearance is very distinct from other titis, the entire body and tail are much darker, and the face is all black,” says co-discoverer Jan Vermeer, coordinator of the Peru-based primate research programme, Proyecto Mono Tocón.

Each titi species has a specific colour pattern, and these patterns seem to be evolutionarily important.

Surprisingly, the new monkey seems to be common along a swathe of forest some 350 kilometres long.

“So often when a new monkey is discovered it is already threatened with extinction” says Vermeer. “This is a remote area with very little hunting, so for once this is not the case.”

The region in which the research was conducted, the Madre do Dios section of the Peruvian Amazon, is an area of extraordinary biological richness, with many species restricted to the forests between two large rivers. The width of the rivers – and the voracious piranhas that live in them – provide natural barriers to dispersion.

The expedition also allowed scientists to study another titi monkey species for the first time since it was described 100 years ago, the Toppin’s titi monkey (Callicebus toppini).

Vermeer and colleagues hope the discoveries will shed light on titi monkey evolution and dispersal, as well as help raise awareness of this remote and little-studied region.

Titi monkeys are small and discreet. We are only just beginning to understand the factors driving their diversity,” says Stephen Ferrari of the Sergipe Federal University in Brazil. “A few decades ago, only five titi species were known. I think many more will be discovered as we explore southern Amazonia’s biologically uncharted forests.”

Journal reference: Primate Conservation

See also here. And here.

Dutch birdwatching TV game show

This 13 July 2015 video introduces the new Dutch TV show In de ban van de condor.

On 4 September 2015, on Dutch TV, there will be the start of a new game show about birdwatching. The name of the show is In de ban van de condor (Fascinated by the condor).

Teams consisting of one birdwatcher and one celebrity will compete who is best at birdwatching.

Among the birdwatchers will be Debby Doodeman, and Camilla Dreef. Among the celebrities will be actress Inge Ipenburg and model Sylvia Geersen.

The first round of the game show will be in four areas in the Netherlands: Biesbosch national park, Texel island, the Veluwe, and Waterland.

The winners of the first round will go to Georgia, where there is massive autumn bird migration.

The final round will be in Peru: looking for the Andean condor.

Abused Peruvian ex-circus bear’s rehabilitation

This video says about itself:

Cholita the bear takes her first steps to freedom!

1 May 2015

Cholita the ‘real-life Paddington bear‘ who was abused at the circus and captured the world’s hearts has taken her first steps to freedom with Animal Defenders International (ADI). The hairless bear was signed into the organisation’s custody and rescued in a two day mission. Cholita is now safe in the ADI ‘Spirit of Freedom’ rescue centre where she is receiving specialist care ahead of her flight to the United States where she will enjoy a new life along with 33 lions who have been rescued from circuses across Peru and Colombia by ADI.

Find out more about ADI’s campaign to save Cholita and our Operation Spirit of Freedom rescue here.

From Wildlife Extra:

Film footage show Cholita the abused ex-circus bear taking first steps to freedom

The abused circus bear Cholita rescued from a zoo in Peru by Animal Defenders International (ADI) has taken her first steps to freedom.

Cholita is an endangered Spectacled bear who was kept illegally by a circus. The stress and trauma of her living conditions has left Cholita suffering from severe hair loss – where she should have thick, black fur she has none, leaving her almost completely bald.

Other scars of her abusive past include fingers brutally cut down to stumps to remove her front claws, and broken teeth, leaving her defenceless.

She is now at the rescue centre in Peru where, for the first time in her life, she is nesting in straw, enjoying a natural diet including her favourite grapes, playing in her bath while being closely monitored to establish her level of health ahead of her flight to the United States where she will enjoy a new life along with 34 big cats who have been rescued from circuses across Peru and Colombia.

ADI President Jan Creamer said, “Cholita has taken her first steps to freedom and is clearly enjoying herself at the ADI rescue centre, making cosy deep straw nests and eating her favourite foods, especially grapes. She is elderly and quite frail so we are keeping her under close observation to monitor her health. With the public’s continuing and heartfelt response we can give this sweet bear the brighter future she deserves.”

Cholita was confiscated from a circus in Peru ten years ago and has been living in a zoo near Piura ever since, as no suitable permanent home could be found for her due to her poor health and lack of hair.

Peruvian authorities requested that ADI find a home for Cholita, along with the 33 lions and a tiger saved during the ADI Operation Spirit of Freedom rescue mission, planned for rehoming at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in the US. Over the past eight months ADI has assisted Peru’s wildlife officials with the enforcement of the country’s ban on wild animals in circuses, and has started the same process to save animals from Colombia’s circuses.

Cholita’s rescue brings the number of animals saved by ADI since August last year, to 79. ADI has worked with Peru’s authorities to raid circuses all over the country in the biggest rescue and enforcement operation of its kind. During the mission, the organisation has also saved dozens of monkeys and other animals from the illegal wildlife trade.

New lizard species discovered in Ecuador and Peru

This video says about itself:

Signalling behaviour of the Anolis lizards of Ecuador

10 November 2013

Video by Andrea Narvaez.

Species: Anolis otongae is displaying in front of Anolis gemosus (the green one).

Location: Otonga (cloud forest).

From National Geographic:

Colorful New ‘Dwarf Dragons’ Found in South America

The newfound wood lizards live in Ecuador and Peru—and chances are, there are more yet to be discovered, scientists say.

By Danielle Elliot

PUBLISHED April 06, 2015

Attention Game of Thrones: Three new species of “dwarf dragon” have been discovered in Peru and Ecuador, a new study says.

Due to political unrest in Ecuador, it took nearly a decade for scientists to identify the reptiles, which are commonly called wood lizards. They are the Alto Tambo wood lizard (Enyalioides altotambo), rough-scaled wood lizard (E. anisolepis), and Rothschild’s wood lizard (E. sophiarothschildae).

Wood lizards—which resemble miniature versions of mythical dragons—are among the largest and most colorful lizards in South American forests, making their discovery even more notable, according to scientists. (Also see “Colorful New Lizard Identified in Vietnam.”)

The study, published April 6 in the journal ZooKeys, brings the total number of wood lizard species to 15. That’s nearly twice the number of species known in 2006—giving this group of South American reptiles one of the fastest discovery rates of the past decade.

“I am a very lucky guy,” said study leader Omar Torres-Carvajal, curator of reptiles at the Museo de Zoología QCAZ at the Catholic University of Ecuador in Quito. A prolific discoverer of wood lizards, Torres-Carvajal is also a research collaborator with the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Natural History.

“As I became more expert in the group, it became easier for me to suspect that something’s weird or new.”

Lizard of a Different Color

Scientists spotted the first new species, E. altotambo, in November 2005 in the northern Ecuadoran village of Alto Tambo (map). Bright green and black with smooth scales along most of its nearly five-inch-long (13-centimeter) body, the animal looked just like a related species, E. oshaughnessyi, which has been known since 1881.

But when the team brought the reptile to their lab at the Museo de Zoología, they noticed one major difference: This new lizard had brown eyes, with golden rings around the pupils. E. oshaughnessyi has bright red eyes. (Also see “Dragon-Like, Feathered Dinosaur Was Ace Flyer.”)

They also noted that the scales of the Alto Tambo are smoother than those of E. oshaughnessyi.

One specimen is hardly enough to confirm a discovery, so they decided to wait until they found another specimen. That took five years, because the lizards come from a region of Ecuador that isn’t considered safe for scientists to conduct field research.

“These guys are usually more abundant. The reason we didn’t find more is that we didn’t actually look,” Torres-Carvajal explained.

“We just were too scared to go and look for more.”

“This Is Something New”

Then in 2014, field researchers working along the border of Ecuador and Peru found a large group of wood lizards with distinctly white throats.

The lizards also had spiked scales and dark spots scattered all over their bodies, in combinations that differ from those in related species.

“I’m looking at them saying, ‘This is something new, because it has a combination of traits that I’ve never seen before.’ It was almost immediate—immediate and very exciting,” he said of their identification.

Taxonomist Pablo Venegas, who consults with the Ecuadoran museum but is based at the Center for Ornithology and Biodiversity in Lima, Peru, recognized the white throat scales from wood lizards he had first seen in northern Peru in 2003 and again in 2008.

DNA testing proved the 2003, 2008, and 2014 specimens belonged to the same species, which was dubbed E. anisolepis. (Also see “Pictures: Peru Park Boasts Highest Diversity of Amphibians and Reptiles.”)

As they continued examining other lizards Venegas had collected, the international team recognized a third new species, E. sophiarothschildae.

This reptile also has a white throat, as well as a splash of black and turquoise scales.

That’s not the end of the story. Torres-Carvajal predicts that in southern Ecuador and northern Peru, many more mini-dragons are waiting in the wings.

See also here.