“Little Olingo”: First new carnivore species discovered in Americas in decades
Posted by Jonathan Rossouw
in Americas and Expeditions
Over 35 years passed between the scientific description of the Colombian Weasel in 1978 and the announcement of the discovery of the Olinguito Bassaricyon neblina. But unlike the scarce, range-restricted weasel, this latest find is both numerous and widely distributed in the northern Andes. A cute, long-tailed creature sporting a plush, foxy coat, this smallest member of the raccoon family (Procyonidae) remained undetected due to a similarity with its already poorly known cousin, the Olingo, and its cryptic lifestyle: nocturnal and arboreal, it inhabits mossy, often misty, frequently steep and occasionally impenetrable cloud forests of the subtropical Andes.
We will search for this most recently described American carnivore on our Apex Ecuador Expedition in April 2015.
“The discovery of the Olinguito shows us that the world is not yet completely explored, its most basic secrets not yet revealed,” says Kristofer Helgen, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and co-discoverer of the Olinguito. “If new carnivores can still be found, what other surprises await us? So many of the world’s species are not yet known to science. Documenting them is the first step toward understanding the full richness and diversity of life on Earth.”
Join Apex Expeditions as we search for Olinguitos on our Ecuador adventure tours.