Meet the olinguito

A new carnivorous mammal has been found in the Andes:

Although new species of insects and amphibians are discovered fairly  regularly, new mammals are rare, and new carnivorous mammals especially rare.  The last new carnivorous mammal, a mongoose-like creature native to Madagascar, was uncovered  in 2010. The most recent such find in the Western Hemisphere, the Colombian  weasel, occurred in 1978. “To find a new carnivore species is a huge event,”  said Ricardo  Sampaio, a biologist at the National  Institute of Amazonian Research in Brazil, who studies South American  mammals in the wild and was not involved in the project.

Olinguitos, formally known as Bassaricyon neblina, inhabit the cloud  forests of Ecuador and Colombia in the thousands, and the team’s analysis  suggests that they are distributed widely enough to exist as four separate  subspecies. “This is extremely unusual in carnivores,” Helgen said, in advance  of the announcement. “I honestly think that this could be the last time in  history that we will turn up this kind of situation—both a new carnivore, and  one that’s widespread enough to have multiple kinds.”

And here it Is (the picture was taken by ):

ZooKeys-324-001-g0150

The picture was taken by I. Poglayen-Neuwall back in 1976 –it was thought to be an olingo, but is now known to be an olinguito. I took the picture from this article which looks at varieties of olingos ((C) 2013 Kristofer M. Helgen. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.).

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