Sir David's Long-beaked Echidna
Sir David's Long-beaked Echidna (Zaglossus attenboroughi), also known as Attenborough's Long-beaked Echidna or the Cyclops Long-beaked Echidna, is one of three species from the genus Zaglossus to occur in New Guinea. It is named in honour of Sir David Attenborough, the eminent naturalist. It lives in the Cyclops Mountains in Papua province of Indonesia near the cities of Sentani and Jayapura.
It is the smallest member of the genus, being closer in size to the Short-beaked Echidna than are other members of the genus. The male is larger than the female and can be differentiated by the spurs on its hind legs. The Echidna is not a social animal and comes together with its own kind only once a year, in July, to mate. The female will lay the eggs after about eight days, and the babies will stay in the mother's pouch for around eight weeks or until their spines develop.
The creature is nocturnal and can roll up into a spiny ball when it feels threatened, somewhat in the manner of a hedgehog. The Echidna weighs from 5 to 10 kilograms (11 to 22 lb) and is found all over New Guinea, although it is most common in the mountain ranges.
The Echidna is endangered by hunting and habitat loss. In fact, in the 1900s, the Echidna was thought to be extinct until some of their "nose pokes" were found in the mountains of New Guinea. These "nose pokes" are very distinct and represent the Echidna's feeding techniques. This is an animal built with a hardy structure and has a diet that consists of earthworms, termites, insect larvae and ants.
The species was described from a single damaged specimen collected in the Dutch colonial era (c. 1961), and has apparently not been collected since that time. Given the ongoing anthropogenic disturbance of the Cyclops Mountain forest habitat, this has raised concern that Z. attenboroughi populations may already be endangered or even locally extirpated. However, biological surveys of Papua province are notoriously incomplete and it is possible that the animal still exists there or in related mountain ranges.
This animal is so high in the endangered-species list that locals are being educated on this creature and asked to stop their tradition of hunting and killing it and sharing it with rivals as a peace offering.
It was reported on July 15, 2007, that researchers from EDGE visiting Papua's Cyclops Mountains had recently discovered burrows and tracks thought to be those of Zaglossus attenboroughi. Furthermore, communication with local people revealed that the species had perhaps been seen as recently as 2005.
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- ^ Groves, C. (2005). Wilson, D. E., & Reeder, D. M. ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 1. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3.
- ^ Leary, T., Seri, L., Flannery, T., Wright, D., Hamilton, S., Helgen, K., Singadan, R., Menzies, J., Allison, A., James, R., Aplin, K., Salas, L. & Dickman, C. (2008). Zaglossus attenboroughi. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 28 December 2008. Database entry includes justification for why this species is listed as critically endangered.
- ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6897977.stm
- ^ http://www.edgeofexistence.org/mammals/species_info.php?id=2
- ^ Flannery, T.F.; C.P. Groves (1998). "A revision of the genus Zaglossus (Monotremata, Tachyglossidae), with description of new species and subspecies". Mammalia 62 (3): 387–390. http://arts.anu.edu.au/grovco/Zaglossus.pdf.
- ^ http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/07/070718-echidna.html
- ^ BBC News (2007-07-15). "New hope over 'extinct' echidna". http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6897977.stm. Retrieved 2007-07-16.
- ^ "Protection for 'weirdest' species". BBC. 2007-01-16. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6263331.stm. Retrieved 2007-05-22.