Two new animal species spotted in Upper Mustang

- NIRMALA ADHIKARI, Kathmandu
Two new animal species spotted in Upper Mustang

Aug 22, 2014-

Nepali researchers have spotted two new animal species in Upper Mustang of Annapurna Conservation Area. The two species—Steppe polecat (Mustela evermanii) and Tibetan wolf (Canis lupus chanco)—were seen at the same location between May 23 and July 4.

A sophisticated camera was set at Dharkeko Pass in Upper Mustang at an altitude of 5047 metres. The species were spotted by Madhu Chhetri, senior conservation officer at the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) as part of the NTNC’s long term ecological research to assess the status of snow leopard and wolf in Annapurna-Manaslu landscape.

The Steppe polecat has uniform colour on upper and undersides, light flanks, pale muzzle, dark feet, white fringe to ears. It weighs 1,350 to 2,050 grams and feeds on rodents, hares, hamsters, voles, pikas and marmots. Its gestation period lasts from 38 to 41 days.

Similarly, the Tibetan wolf has elongated muzzle, well developed frontal sinuses and white colour in throat, chest, belly and inside of the legs. It weighs around 35 to 45 kilograms. Its diets include marmots, pikas, gazelle, pheasants and hares. Its gestation period lasts from 60 to 63 days and the litters usually consist of five to six pups.

However, the government has not yet recognised the species. Scientists and conservation experts said they would promptly start the process to provide recognition and validity to the species through genetic tests and producing peer review articles on the spices. Govinda Gajurel, NTNC member secretary, appreciated the efforts and the hard work of the team.

The experts also acknowledged the fact that Nepal has been a home to many endangered species such as one-horned rhino, royal Bengal tiger and python.

Published: 23-08-2014 09:07

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