Wildlife discovery

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A new species of animal discovered! Amazing. The following report says this new animal is the never-documented-before tree kangaroo. Though the ‘discovery’ part has a lot to do with for whom it was a discovery and all that stuff about knowledge disciplines blah blah, I was kind of excited about a news that for a change tells us about the existence of an unknown animal rather than the extinct of a known animal. I rejoiced at this. This is an old story, btw, I discovered it recently!

 tree-kangaroo.jpg        honeycreeper.jpg

Photos from: http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0206-ng.html

THE DISCOVERY OF this most beautiful of tree-kangaroos was almost accidental. In 1988 I began a survey of Papua New Guinea’s
North Coast Ranges with Lester Seri, Veari Kula and Pavel German. Over the next five years we were to visit every major mountain peak in the region. As early as 1990 I heard stories from hunters in the
Torricelli Mountains about a tree-kangaroo known as Weimanke. It was described as being like Goodfellow’s Tree-kangaroo (from photographs in a book), but with a white face. Only the oldest men in a few villages claimed to have seen one, and they only in their early youth. It seemed that whatever Weimanke was, it had been extinct in the region for about 60 years. In 1990 Lester Seri and Pavel German travelled to Mt Sapau, the easternmost high peak in the entire Torricelli Mountains region. Hunters there told Lester and Pavel about an animal they knew as Weiman, which inhabited their forest. Soon after arriving, Lester became seriously ill with malaria and was hardly able to walk. Excited by their discovery, he refused to abort the trip, instead advising Pavel to trek into the mountains with some hunters in pursuit of proof of the animal’s existence. After a week or so, Pavel returned with an extraordinary tree-kangaroo, and the honour of having been the first European ever to see Weiman. The moment I saw the specimen I knew that it was the near-legendary Weimanke of the western Torricelli Mountains. I was also certain that it was a hitherto undiscovered species or subspecies of tree-kangaroo. Its pinkish face, almost sepia eyes, white ears and golden shoulders are highly distinctive. It has white rings on the tail, and parts of the back are a rich, almost burgundy colour. The Golden-mantled Tree-kangaroo is the smallest member of the Goodfellow’s Tree-kangaroo complex. The two specimens known (both female) weighed 7 and 7.1 kilograms. Both were without young when examined. All other aspects of its natural history remain mysterious.

From: Timothy Fridtjof Flannery (1993) http://www.papuaweb.org/gb/ref/flannery-1996/108-109.html

More news of discovery here:

A team of scientists led by Conservation International (CI) found dozens of new species in a survey of New Guinea’s Foja Mountains. The December 2005 trip by a team of U.S., Indonesian, and Australian scientists discovered new species of frogs, butterflies, plants, and an orange-faced honeyeater, the first new bird from the island of New Guinea in more than 60 years.

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