27 April 2012

Endangered Philippine Cloud Rat Discovered


A Czech zoologist reportedly found an extinct mammal species called “Dinagat” (Crateromys aus¬tralis), a bushy-tailed cloud rat which can only be found in Dinagat Island, Southern Leyte.
In the April 18 issue of the Prague Post, Milada Rehakova narrated that her husband, Vaclav Rehak, a programmer, saw a big hairy rat creeping through the vegetation slowly early this year while visiting the Philippines.
A week later, they took the first photographs and video recordings of the rat in the wilderness.

Rehakova, who is also conducting a study on the Philippine tarsier, has been in the Philippines since 2007.
The “Dinagat,” which measures 55 centimeters long including the tail, is one of the largest ro¬dents in the world. It is a nocturnal animal that lives in trees. Experts classify six species in two genera, Crateromys and Phloeomys.
A specimen of the brown rodent which has a white tail-end was first described in 1975.
Several scien¬tific researches have been conducted but were not successful in finding this rare and endangered rat. This prompted experts from the Philip¬pines' Biodiversity Conservation Foundation and the Czech couple to come up with protective measures to preserve the species in cooperation with the local government and the nature conservation office.
Czech Zoologist Pavel Brandl of the Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic said that he considers the discovery of the “Dinagat” as a great success for the Czech team and good news for conservation efforts of Phil¬ippine wildlife.
He added that he is looking for¬ward to learning something more about the life of the mysterious rat whose existence has been provok¬ing the imagination of zoologists for several decades.
Prague Zoo is breeding the Phloeomys pallidus rat species en¬demic to northern Luzon and it has kept it in its breeding book since 2010. 
By ROY C. MABASA
mb.com.ph

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