A NEW species of mammal has been found in the remote forests of South America.
The olinguito, said to resemble a cross between a cat and teddy bear, is related to the racoon family and is the first new carnivore to be discovered in the Western hemisphere since the Colombian weasel 35 years ago.
It’s 14 inches long, nocturnal and lives mainly on fruit despite being a meat-eater.
Zoologist Dr Kristofer Helgen had found bone and skin samples from an unknown species in a Chicago museum. But it took more than a decade to identify them and find the creature in the wilds of Colombia and Ecuador. Dr Helgen, of Washington’s Museum of Natural History, said: “We used clues from the specimens to predict what kind of forest we might find them in – and we found it.
“This reminds us that the world is not yet explored and the age of discovery is far from over… what else is out there?”
Experts now believe the olinguito had been on show in US zoos between 1967 and 1976 – but keepers mistook it for its close relative the olinga.