A remote automatic camera captured images of an unidentified elephant shrew in a Kenyan forest. The camera was placed in an area within the forest after Grace Wambui a Zoological Society of London fellow spotted the mysterious creature. Photographs confirmed it was indeed an unknown type of elephant shrew scampering around.
Rajan Amin, a Zoological Society of London biologist said, “We will continue our work to document the forest’s rich biodiversity and to determine if this is a new species of elephant-shrew. The findings of our study are highlighting the conservation importance of these unique coastal forests.”
(Source: Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation)
Researcher Galen Rathbun said of the elephant shrews, “With their ancient and often misunderstood ancestry, their monogamous mating strategies, and their charismatic flexible snouts, they are captivating animals.” (Source: LiveScience.com) Elephant shrews are also called sengi. There are currently seventeen sengi species documented scientifically. They all live in Africa, and are shy and elusive.
Although they are very small weighing about one pound, and furry, these creatures are actually more closely related to elephants than shrews. DNA analysis will be undertaken to determine if the animal photographed is a new species. Scientists were studying biodiversity of Boni-Dodori forest in northeastern Kenya on the coast. Biologists are interested in documenting biodiveristy in northeastern Kenya since many species inhabit the area and yet there is little knowledge of them.
The World Wildlife Fund says of the Boni and Dodoria areas, “Between them, they harbour densities of plant species that are among the highest in the world, and they have been declared biodiversity hotspots.” Land there is being cleared for use in agriculture.
Image Credit: Zoological Society of London