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The Somali Sengi – Alive & Well

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A Rodent Reborn

My attention was drawn this week to the story of the Somali Sengi – no I had not heard of it either!

The Somali Sengi or Elephant shrew is neither an elephant nor a shrew but is related to aardvarks, elephants and manatees. This little mammal has not been officially spotted on planet Earth since 1968 …..until now! That was the year I was born making this story to me even more incredible to fathom!

Feasting on insects using their trunk-like noses the Somali Sengi was previously only known to come from Somalia hence its name. During a recent scientific expedition in the little-known country of Djibouti, this little fella or lady was caught in a trap containing peanut butter bait. Now I have never got the fascination some people have for peanut butter however I am now a fan as it seems to have snared one of the Global Wildlife Conservation Group 25 Top Lost Species!

The Somali Sengi on Film

During the expedition, they discovered 12 Sengis and managed to take a short video of live Somali elephant shrews. The really good news is that the future looks bright for them as the area they were found in was pretty inaccessible and far from any developments or farms.

I find it incredible that in 2020 there are 1,200 species of animals or plants on this list of “Lost Species” although there are 25 that this charity desperately wants to find as a priority. As you will see they are having success. Five have now been rediscovered. Jackson’s Climbing Salamander, Silver Backed Chevrotain, Wallace Giant Bee, the Velvet Pitcher plant and now the little Somali Sengi!

There are plenty more species to find so if you happen to see a pink-headed duck or a long-beaked echidna, then please let me know and we can start ticking off a few more!

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