Elephant Shrew Rediscovered in Djibouti

Source: Steven Heritage at Global Wildlife

Somali sengi, also known as the elephant shrew, have been rediscovered in the wild after not having been observed since 1968.

The elephant shrew is a tiny mouse that roams the African prairie and has a long tail and trunk like nose.  In addition to their rediscovery, scientists were surprised to learn of the species abundance in Djibouti.

The research project began when scientists began inquiring of local Senji peoples who claimed knowledge about the species existence and locations. Using a simple trap of a coconut filled with peanut butter and yeast in one of the locations where local stated they had observed the shrew, the scientist to the joy found animals

Steven Heritage of Duke University said, “It was amazing.”

In an interview with the Guardian, Heritage stated, “When we opened the first trap and saw the little tuft of hair on the tip of its tail, we just looked at one another and couldn’t believe it. A number of small mammal surveys since the 1970s did not find the Somali sengi in Djibouti—it was serendipitous that it happened so quickly for us.”

Shrews are distant relatives of their larger mammalian cousins that include elephants and manatees, these tiny trunked mammals thrive vacuuming ants on the savannah in very similar way to the aardvark.

A distant relative of goliaths like the manatee and elephant, this tiny incarnation of trunked-mammals races around, vacuuming up ants with its nose in much the same way as the aardvark.

Conservationist Robin Moore of Global Wildlife Conservation remarked on the discovery, “Usually when we rediscover lost species, we find just one or two individuals and have to act quickly to try to prevent their imminent extinction.”

The researchers set 1,000 coconut and peanut butter filled traps and caught 12 shrews.  Additionally, the team obtained the first video and photographs of the senji.

Source: Good News Network