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Old 09-24-03, 09:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Extinct Mammal found alive in Cuba

From Yahoo news

Creature Thought Extinct Found in Cuba
Tue Sep 23, 3:09 PM ET

HAVANA - A living example of an insectivore native to Cuba but believed for years to extinct has been found in the island's eastern mountains, a Cuban news agency reported.

The discovery of the male insect-eating mammal known as an almiqui (pronounced ahl-mee-KEE) raises hopes "that it will not wind up in the catalog of the irretrievable animals disappearing from the face of the Earth," Prensa Latina said in reporting the discovery.

The creature looks like a brownish woolly badger with a long, pink-tipped snout and can measure up to about 19 inches, according to Prensa Latina's Monday dispatch.

The nocturnal animal burrows underground during the daytime, explaining why it is rarely seen by people. After the sun goes down, it emerges to root out worms, larvae and insects.

Named "Alejandrito" by the farmer who found it, the living almiqui weighed 24 ounces and veterinarians declared the animal in perfect health.

"Alejandrito" was held in captivity for two days of study and medical tests, then marked and let free in the same general area it was found, Prensa Latina said.

The almiqui was described for the first time in 1861 by the German naturalist Wilham Peters, who wrote of the difference between the Cuban animal and a similar one found in neighboring Haiti.

Since, only 37 of the animals known by the scientific name Solenodon Cubanus have been captured, including "Alejandrito."

The last reported sightings of the creatures were in 1972 in the eastern province of Guantanamo, and 25 years later in 1999 in the eastern province of Holguin.
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