New Carnivore Discovered in Madagascar Marshes

Members of a research team from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust recently discovered a new carnivore species (Carnivora, Family Eupleridae) in the marshes surrounding Lac Alaotra in Madagascar. The new species (Salanoia durrelli) is similar to the brown-tailed vontsira (Salanoia concolor) but differs in the size and shape of teeth and skull. The new species is named after Gerald Durrell, a leading conservationist and founder of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Durrell’s vontsira is adapted to a more aquatic lifestyle than the brown-tailed vontsira of the eastern rainforests.

vontsira lac_aloatra

Figure 1. (Left) Durrell’s vontsira (Salanoia durrelli) - The first new carnivorous mammal to be discovered for 24 years. It was discovered on the Island of Madagascar by a team from Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (DWCT), the Natural History Museum, London, Nature Heritage, and Conservation International (CI). (Right) Researchers search the marshes of Lac Aloatra. © Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

While heralded as an amazing discovery, Durrel’s vontsira is among the most endangered carnivores in the world. It is restricted to the marshes of Lac Alaotra, which are threatened by human encroachment, slash and burn agriculture, and invasive plants.

For full details visit
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.