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Spectacular mammal rediscovered after 113 years -- first ever photographs taken
PhysOrg.com ^ | 05-19-2011 | Staff

Posted on 05/19/2011 2:00:01 PM PDT by Red Badger

A unique and mysterious guinea-pig-sized rodent, not seen since 1898 despite several organized searches, bizarrely showed up at the front door of an ecolodge at a nature reserve in Colombia, South America. The magnificent red-crested tree rat (Santamartamys rufodorsalis), stayed for almost two hours while two research volunteers took the first photos ever of a creature the world thought would never be seen again.

The charming nocturnal rodent made his re-debut to the world at 9:30PM on May 4, 2011 at the El Dorado Nature Reserve in the far north of the country. The Reserve was established in 2005 by Fundación ProAves — Colombia's foremost bird conservation organization — with support from American Bird Conservancy, World Land Trust-US, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, Fundación Loro Parque and Conservation International.

The animal was rediscovered by Lizzie Noble and Simon McKeown — two volunteer researchers with ProAves monitoring endangered amphibians. It posed for photographs — including close-ups — before calmly proceeding back to the forest.

"He just shuffled up the handrail near where we were sitting and seemed totally unperturbed by all the excitement he was causing. We are absolutely delighted to have rediscovered such a wonderful creature after just a month of volunteering with ProAves. Clearly the El Dorado Reserve has many more exciting discoveries waiting," said Lizzie Noble from Godalming, England.

"The El Dorado Nature Reserve represents the ultimate Noah's Ark, protecting the last populations of many critically endangered and endemic flora and fauna; a living treasure trove like no other on earth," said Dr. Paul Salaman, the scientist from the World Land Trust-US who confirmed the identity of the species.

"Had we not worked with our partners to establish this reserve, it is reasonable to believe this species would still remain something that was only talked about in science journals. Now we need to work with our partners to take steps to see that this species continues to be a part of our world," said George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy.

The red-crested tree rat will now likely be designated as Critically Endangered under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Red List of Threatened Species criteria. What is most concerning, however, is that much of the tree rat's potential remaining range is inundated with introduced feral cats that prey on native fauna.

In 2005, Dr. Louise Emmons of the Smithsonian Institution examined the only two skin specimens of the tree rat known at that time. She identified a number of unique characteristics, and assigned the species to its own genus Santamartamys. It is 18 inches long from head to the tip of the tail and is distinguished by a mane-like band of reddish fur around its neck and a black and white tail.

The 2,000-acre El Dorado reserve is named after the legendary lost city of gold, and is internationally known as a unique destination for ecotourists. It is situated in cloud forests at 5,900 feet, just two hours' drive from the popular coastal tourist city of Santa Marta. The reserve and adjacent lands host the highest concentration of continental, range-restricted bird species found anywhere in the world, including the endangered Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant, and Santa Marta Sabrewing, all of which have their entire or major stronghold populations there. It also holds one of the highest concentrations of endemic and threatened amphibian species in the world. The reserve is listed as an Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) site, establishing it among the world's highest priorities for conservation, yet remarkably little is known about the area.

"This discovery marks the beginning of a major effort to save the red-crested Tree rat and heralds the start of a global initiative in search of lost mammal species," said Salaman.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: animal; anthropology; endangeredspecies; environment; georgefenwick; lizzienoble; paulsalaman; simonmckeown; treerat
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Red-Crested Tree Rat by Lizzie Noble/ProAves

1 posted on 05/19/2011 2:00:03 PM PDT by Red Badger
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To: Red Badger; SunkenCiv

Ping!


2 posted on 05/19/2011 2:01:07 PM PDT by lonevoice (Where the Welfare State is on the march, the Police State is not far behind)
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To: Red Badger

Cute little critter - wonder how he BBQs


3 posted on 05/19/2011 2:01:21 PM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working for)
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To: Red Badger

Helen Thomas photo in, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,


4 posted on 05/19/2011 2:03:16 PM PDT by SanFranDan
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To: Red Badger

Looks tasty. And I bet if you had enough of them that fur would make some really warm gloves.


5 posted on 05/19/2011 2:04:05 PM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Red Badger

Disappointing, I thought it would be Sasquatch.


6 posted on 05/19/2011 2:05:17 PM PDT by Brett66 (Where government advances, and it advances relentlessly , freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: Red Badger

Looks like a Tribble.


7 posted on 05/19/2011 2:05:17 PM PDT by Marty62 (Marty60)
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To: MrB

mmmmmmmmm - pulled tree rodent sammiches.


8 posted on 05/19/2011 2:05:17 PM PDT by Noumenon ("One man with courage is a majority." - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Lurker
And I bet if you had enough of them that fur would make some really warm gloves.

Stylishly colorful too!

9 posted on 05/19/2011 2:05:46 PM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (A "Moderate Muslim"? Nothing more than a Muslim Extremist who has run out of ammo.)
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To: Red Badger

I was really hoping this was going to be a Tazmanian Tiger, but it is still pretty cool.


10 posted on 05/19/2011 2:06:13 PM PDT by CollegeRepublican
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To: Red Badger

I was really hoping this was going to be a Tazmanian Tiger, but it is still pretty cool.


11 posted on 05/19/2011 2:06:18 PM PDT by CollegeRepublican
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To: SanFranDan
Photobucket
12 posted on 05/19/2011 2:06:26 PM PDT by dragonblustar ( I stand with Israel!)
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To: MrB

tastes like chicken, more fat than bald eagle


13 posted on 05/19/2011 2:06:46 PM PDT by Tymesup
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To: Red Badger

It will make an interesting pet.


14 posted on 05/19/2011 2:07:04 PM PDT by Roger_Wildcat
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To: SanFranDan
You got it, pal!


15 posted on 05/19/2011 2:07:35 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Red Badger

I can’t recall ever having read an article that used the word “magnificent” to describe a rat.


16 posted on 05/19/2011 2:07:54 PM PDT by OB1kNOb (The stench of dependency is a sickening smell. Strive to become an asset, not a liability.)
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To: Red Badger; dragonblustar

Very cool, thanks for posting. LOL!


17 posted on 05/19/2011 2:10:48 PM PDT by PGalt
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To: Red Badger

My cats would LOVE that little guy!!


18 posted on 05/19/2011 2:10:59 PM PDT by Cementjungle
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To: MrB

19 posted on 05/19/2011 2:11:42 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Red Badger

Yep, I can just see them in the pet stores already.


20 posted on 05/19/2011 2:11:54 PM PDT by TribalPrincess2U (They don't need to do another 911. They have BHO and the Fleebaggers.)
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To: Red Badger
After all this time they should be considered an invading non indigenous creature and eradicated post haste!

21 posted on 05/19/2011 2:12:32 PM PDT by I see my hands (Embrace misanthropy)
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To: OB1kNOb

“I can’t recall ever having read an article that used the word “magnificent” to describe a rat.”

Where have you been?? The MSM has been going on like that over Obama for several years now!;)


22 posted on 05/19/2011 2:14:28 PM PDT by Frank_2001
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To: Red Badger
"This discovery marks the beginning of a major effort to save the red-crested Tree rat and heralds the start of a global initiative in search of lost mammal species," said Salaman.

And here's the money quote. Ought to be good for a few million in government grants.

23 posted on 05/19/2011 2:14:54 PM PDT by OB1kNOb (The stench of dependency is a sickening smell. Strive to become an asset, not a liability.)
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To: dragonblustar

That “mammal” is more than 300 years old and should be shot.


24 posted on 05/19/2011 2:16:35 PM PDT by max americana (.)
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To: Red Badger

Aww he’s cute lol


25 posted on 05/19/2011 2:17:23 PM PDT by Moleman
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To: Frank_2001

Touche! LOL! I stand corrected.


26 posted on 05/19/2011 2:17:32 PM PDT by OB1kNOb (The stench of dependency is a sickening smell. Strive to become an asset, not a liability.)
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To: Red Badger

Can someone please explain the significance of this?


27 posted on 05/19/2011 2:19:56 PM PDT by ▀udda▀udd (7 days - 7 ways a Guero y Guay Lao >>> with a floating, shifting, ever changing persona.....)
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To: Joe 6-pack

OMG. Say it ain’t so


28 posted on 05/19/2011 2:20:00 PM PDT by paul51 (11 September 2001 - Never forget)
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To: Red Badger

Spectacular? What’s spectacular about this? Now capturing the Loch Ness Monster, THAT would be spectacular.


29 posted on 05/19/2011 2:22:38 PM PDT by MSF BU (YR'S Please Support our troops: JOIN THEM!)
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To: OB1kNOb
Some consider diversity of form a magnificent manifestation of Gods work.

Others just roast or squish them... And make things out of their pelts... If they do not just throw them into the trash.

30 posted on 05/19/2011 2:25:38 PM PDT by mmercier
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To: OB1kNOb

Are we still looking for the mammalian “Honest Politician” or have we given up that hunt?
We do have a list of politicians but not Honest:
Slippery
Spineless
Cheating
Homo-eric, (both varieties)
Quisling
Elitist
etal


31 posted on 05/19/2011 2:26:20 PM PDT by GOYAKLA (Flush Congress in 2010 & 2012)
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To: Red Badger

"Hey Honey, let's jerk around a bunch of environmentalists!"

32 posted on 05/19/2011 2:26:54 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Revolting cat!; neverdem; patton; xsmommy; SunkenCiv; Lazamataz; CholeraJoe; CPOSharky; EODGUY
A unique and mysterious guinea-pig-sized rodent, not seen since 1898 despite several organized searches, bizarrely showed up at the front door of an ecolodge at a nature reserve in Colombia, South America ...

Oopsie.

My bad. I thought they were writing about a New Guinea-sized rodent, and immediately thought they had found Michelle Obamouse.

33 posted on 05/19/2011 2:29:26 PM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but socialists' ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Red Badger

I’m disappointed - I thought it was going to be a democrat with a moral compass.


34 posted on 05/19/2011 2:29:58 PM PDT by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA (OBL's death is President Bush's fault! ..... thanks GWB!)
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To: mmercier
Some consider diversity of form a magnificent manifestation of Gods work.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

35 posted on 05/19/2011 2:34:08 PM PDT by OB1kNOb (The stench of dependency is a sickening smell. Strive to become an asset, not a liability.)
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To: Red Badger

“Had we not worked with our partners to establish this reserve, it is reasonable to believe this species would still remain something that was only talked about in science journals. Now we need to work with our partners to take steps to see that this species continues to be a part of our world,” said George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy.


Had they not been there the little rat would have still existed and lived its natural life untouched. What gives Mr. Fenwick audacity to decide what this little guy’s relationship with the human race should be.

It is my opinion that the tree rat made up its own mind abut that relationship. He came, he saw, he was not impressed and left.


36 posted on 05/19/2011 2:39:37 PM PDT by burroak
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To: blackie; Red Badger
Spectacular mammal rediscovered after 113 years

Dude, I thought they were talking about you.

37 posted on 05/19/2011 2:41:14 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: Red Badger

Well, actually I think that it is a beautiful animal. Stop the jokes, and appreciate nature for a bit. It is one of life’s pleasures.

Look at that fur!


38 posted on 05/19/2011 2:45:50 PM PDT by docbnj
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To: OB1kNOb
I can’t recall ever having read an article that used the word “magnificent” to describe a rat.

You missed the Magnificent Obama articles in Time, Newsweek, the NYT etc?

39 posted on 05/19/2011 2:47:44 PM PDT by Publius6961 (you don't need a president-for-life if you've got a bureaucracy-for-life.)
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To: SanFranDan
Helen Thomas photo in, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,

Actually, when I read the little fellows name, Red Crested Tree Rat, pelosi immediately came to mind. Then, I saw how cute the little guy is, and knew differently.

40 posted on 05/19/2011 2:48:53 PM PDT by RobinOfKingston (An election is not a (national) suicide pact.)
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To: Red Badger
"Ahem! Reports of my extermination are premature."
41 posted on 05/19/2011 2:50:08 PM PDT by Hunton Peck (See my FR homepage for a list of businesses that support WI Gov. Scott Walker)
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To: Red Badger

Keep Richard Gere away from it.


42 posted on 05/19/2011 2:50:54 PM PDT by Retired Greyhound
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To: OB1kNOb

So who is going to pay to fix my eyes now...?

Thanks for that.


43 posted on 05/19/2011 2:54:42 PM PDT by mmercier
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To: lonevoice; Robert A. Cook, PE

Thanks for the pings.

Not seen in 113 years, shows up at a lodge? Geez, how long is this rodent gonna live?


44 posted on 05/19/2011 3:06:48 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: I see my hands
What's up with the centered stuff in a box? Not complaining, just curious.

45 posted on 05/19/2011 3:07:07 PM PDT by Two Kids' Dad ((((( )))))
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To: Red Badger; JoeProBono

It looks more like a hamster, other than that long tail. For a rat, it’s adorable. ;’)


46 posted on 05/19/2011 3:07:51 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: Red Badger

He's adorable. Like a chinchilla, only colorful.

47 posted on 05/19/2011 3:14:07 PM PDT by denydenydeny (Rage all you want, looters & moochers, but the gods of the copybook headings are your masters now.)
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To: Two Kids' Dad

48 posted on 05/19/2011 3:32:29 PM PDT by I see my hands (Embrace misanthropy)
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To: I see my hands

Gotcha. Thanks for the reply.


49 posted on 05/19/2011 3:36:47 PM PDT by Two Kids' Dad ((((( )))))
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To: docbnj

He really is a cute little guy...beautiful coat, too.


50 posted on 05/19/2011 3:40:02 PM PDT by SoKatt ("Change" is not a strategy!)
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