Adorably weird elephant-shrew, lost to science for 50 years, rediscovered in Africa

That is the primary ever picture of a reside Somali sengi for scientific documentation.

Steven Heritage/Duke College Lemur Middle

The scientific neighborhood knew Somali sengi elephant-shrews as soon as roamed components of Africa. There have been examples — some gathered lots of of years in the past — in museum collections. It is simply that no scientist had logged one within the wild because the late 1960s.

Excellent news for elephant-shrews: The Somali sengi is alive and nicely in Djibouti, and there is loads of proof.

Conservation group Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) announced the rediscovery of the “romantically monogamous” Somali sengi on Tuesday. The elephant-shrew was on the group’s 25 Most Wanted Lost Species list.

GWC launched the primary scientific documentation of a reside Somali sengi within the type of a photograph displaying the mouse-like animal standing on some rocks. The insect-eater has a trunk-like nostril and is extra intently associated to elephants than precise shrews.

This Somali sengi is again on the scientific books.

Houssein Rayaleh/Affiliation Djibouti Nature

The analysis group caught an elusive Somali sengi in a entice baited with peanut butter, oatmeal and yeast. 

“It was superb,” Duke University Lemur Center research scientist Steven Heritage stated in a press release. “Once we opened the primary entice and noticed the little tuft of hair on the tip of its tail, we simply checked out each other and could not consider it,” 

Association Djibouti Nature analysis ecologist Houssein Rayaleh was conscious the Somali sengi was nonetheless on the market. “For us residing in Djibouti, and by extension the Horn of Africa, we by no means thought-about the sengis to be ‘misplaced,'” he said in a Q&A with GWC. “However this new analysis does convey the Somali sengi again into the scientific neighborhood, which we worth.”

Rayaleh is co-author of a paper on the sengis published in the journal PeerJ on Tuesday. Heritage is the lead writer.

The Somali sengis seemed to be secure of their habitat, a spread that crosses from Somalia to Djibouti. The analysis group has beneficial the small mammals be granted a “least concern” standing on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

“For Djibouti,” said Rayaleh, “it is a vital story that highlights the nice biodiversity of the nation and the area and exhibits that there are alternatives for brand new science and analysis right here.” 

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Amanda Kooser