Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Since the discovery of the Colombian weasel, only five specimens have been obtained from western Colombia (provinces of Huila and Cauca) and northern Ecuador (Nowak, 2005). The species was thought to be endemic to the Cordillera Central of Colombia, but another specimen was found from Andean Ecuador (Schreiber et al., 1989).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Hardly anything is known of its habitat preferences (Schreiber et al., 1989). The few specimens have been obtained from an altitude, between 1,750 and 2,700 m, where cloud forests predominate. One Colombian weasel was collected in the upper Suaza river valley (Cueva de los Guacharos National Park). This part of the Suaza river contains stretches with torrential currents which are interrupted by quiet pools (Rodriguez, 1988).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
B1ab(ii,iii)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Emmons, L. & Helgen, K.

Reviewer/s
Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Vulnerable due to a limited extent of occurrence (<10,000 km²), it is know from only 10 localities and due to an ongoing decline in population size (estimated from the rates of habitat loss and deforestation in the northern Andes in Colombia and Ecuador). Very little is know about this species and it may be more threatened than we can infer from the 10 localities where it has been found to persist. This species should be reevaluated when more becomes know of its distribution and threats.

History
  • 1996
    Endangered
  • 1994
    Endangered
    (Groombridge 1994)
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Population

Population
Nothing is know of populations of this species. Less than 10 specimens are known of this species.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The species occurs in a limited area where deforestation is rampant (Nowak, 2005). Schreiber et al. (1989) noted that it is among the rarest carnivores in South America. A great majority of the presumed range of the species has been deforested for agriculture.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
One specimen has been collected near the administrative centre of the Cueva de los Guacharos National Park (9,000 ha; Rodriguez, 1988). The Parque National de Huila (158,000 ha) and Parque National de Purace (83,000 ha) are also close to collecting sites of M. felipei (Liebermann pers. comm.).
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Wikipedia

Colombian weasel

Colombian weasel (Mustela felipei), also known as the Don Felipe's weasel, is a very rare species of weasel only known with certainty from the departments of Huila and Cauca in Colombia[2] and nearby northern Ecuador (where only known from a single specimen).[1] Both its scientific and alternative common name honours the mammalogist Philip "Don Felipe" Hershkovitz.[3]

It appears to be largely restricted to riparian habitats at an altitude of 1700–2700 m (5600–8900 ft). There is extensive deforestation within its limited distribution within the Northern Andes of Colombia and Ecuador, and with less than 10 known specimens,[1] it is probably the rarest carnivoran in South America.[4] It is therefore considered vulnerable by IUCN.[1]

Mature specimens have averaged around 22 cm (8.7 in), not counting a tail of around 11.5 cm (4.5 in), and have weighed 120–150 g (4.2–5.3 oz). This places as the second smallest living carnivore on average, being only slightly larger than the Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis) and slightly smaller than the Ermine or Stoat (M. erminea).[5] The upperparts and tail are blackish-brown, while the underparts are orange-buff. The fur is fairly long.[4]

Very little is known about its behavior, but it has several features, among them extensive toe webbing, which suggests it has a semiaquatic lifestyle.[4]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Emmons, L. & Helgen, K. (2008). Mustela felipei. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 21 March 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of vulnerable
  2. ^ Eisenberg, John Frederick; Redford, Kent Hubbard (1999). Mammals of the Neotropics: The Central Neotropics: Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil (vol. 3). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 624. ISBN 978-0-226-19542-1. 
  3. ^ Izor, R. J., and L. de la Torre. 1978. A New Species of Weasel (Mustela) from the Highlands of Colombia, with Comments on the Evolution and Distribution of South American Weasels. Journal of Mammalogy. Vol. 59(1): 92-102
  4. ^ a b c Novak, R. M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. 6th edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. ISBN 0-8018-5789-9
  5. ^ Carnivores of the World by Dr. Luke Hunter. Princeton University Press (2011), ISBN 9780691152288
  • Izor, R. J. and N. E. Peterson. 1985. Notes on South American weasels. Journal of Mammalogy 66: 788–790.
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