Fresh new critters

'New mammal' seen in Borneo woods.

In the dense central forests of Borneo, a conservation group has found what appears to be a new species of mammal.  WWF caught two images of the animal, which is bigger than a domestic cat, dark red, and has a long muscular tail.  Local people, the WWF says, had not seen the species before, and researchers say it looks to be new.  The WWF says there is an urgent need to conserve forests in south-east Asia which are under pressure from logging and the palm oil trade.  The creature, believed to be carnivorous, was spotted in the Kayan Mentarang National Park, which lies in Indonesian territory on Borneo.  The team which discovered it, led by biologist Stephan Wulffraat, is publishing full details in a new book on Borneo and its wildlife.

It looks cute!  The animal is not a lemur, though it looks like one.  It could be a viverrid, the family that the mongoose and civet belong to. Scientists are trying to get more pictures and catch one in a live trap for study, but it may spend most of its time in trees.

(There was an inch of powdery snow on the car this morning, nothing sticky, easy to clean off.  Most of it didn't last the day, but it was the first snow that stayed on the ground this winter.  It's cold outside.)

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