New mammals, especially in the Western Hemisphere are relatively rare. New carnivorous mammals, new medium sized (i.e larger than a mouse) are also rare. Thus, incredible excitement for those animal hmmm… fanatics isn’t quite right, obsessives is probably closer to the truth (as opposed to animal lovers, a distinct breed, that), amongst us.
The Olinguito (pronounced oh-lin-GHEE-toe), or Bassaricyon neblina, is a member of the raccoon family, and lives in trees in the cloud forests of Ecuador and Columbia. The story of finding this species is a biologists dream’s tale – starting with finding weird specimens unlike anything known in museum drawers (which suggests that they weren’t entirely unknown before, just not in their own species). Anatomy and DNA established the Olinguito as a valid and separate species.
A member of the team that found them said:
“I was filled with disbelief, this journey, which started with some skins and skulls in an American museum, had taken me to a point where I was standing in a cloudy, wet rainforest and seeing a very real animal.”
The scientific description is here.