New species of elephant shrew captured on camera

A giant elephant shrew captured on camera in an African forest may be a new species, said scientists.

Last Updated: Sep 17, 2010, 14:03 PM IST

London: A giant elephant shrew captured on camera in an African forest may be a new species, said scientists.

The weird looking mammal, which has a long trunk-like nose, was discovered in the Boni-Dodori forest in northeastern Kenya.

The mystery animal was photographed by a camera trap after Grace Wambui, fellow of the Zoological Society of London`s (ZSL) Edge of Existence programme, spotted an elusive elephant-shrew she did not recognise.

There are currently only 17 known species of elephant shrew, or giant sengi found in Africa. But scientists believe this find could be a new species.

Elephant shrews are more closely related to elephants than shrews, despite their tinier size, but are named for their long trunk-like snout, reports the Daily Mail.

ZSL senior field conservation biologist Rajan Amin said the picture of the elephant shrew was an important discovery.

"The whole team was very excited to capture pictures of this mammal," Amin said.

"We will continue our work to document the forest`s rich biodiversity and to determine if this is a new species of elephant-shrew," he said.

IANS