Friday, October 5, 2012

Eight New Species of Mammals Discovered in Peru


Some of the animals found include an as of yet unnamed type of night monkey with orange-colored eyes. (Photo courtesy of Alexander Pari)
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An expedition by a team of Mexican and Peruvian biologists in northern Peru has led to the discovery of eight new mammals and three new amphibians.

On the eastern slope of the Peruvian Andes, near the border with Ecuador, the area of Tabaconas Namballe National Sanctuary where the animals were located is called a "new paradise of unknown biodiversity" in a recent Spanish-language press release and was originally discovered during an expedition that spanned from 2009 to 2011.

Some of the animals found include an as of yet unnamed type of night monkey with orange-colored eyes; a common shrew opossum which is said to be twice the size of its closest relative and is categorized as a marsupial; an enigmatic porcupine with long quills; and an unnamed small-eared shrew.

Tabaconas Namballe National Sanctuary's 70,000 acres includes a variety of habitats, but its cloud forests are home to at least 85 kinds of mammals, 326 kinds of birds and 23 kinds of reptiles and amphibians. Cloud forests are so called due to the low-level clouds that persist there, and are well-known for supporting abundant and diverse wildlife.

Although, Tabaconas Namballe National Sanctuary is protected along with inhabitants such as the endangered mountain tapir and spectacled bear, outside its boundaries, the land is threatened by intense deforestation, hunting and illegal mining.

"The habitat is very valuable," said Gerardo Ceballos, an expedition co-leader from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, "even without knowing the species that are there."

Photos of some of the animals can be seen on National Geographic

Tracy López is a bilingual writer living outside the Washington DC metro area. She is the founder of

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