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In Wisconsin, United States
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World News: A new species of mammal in the urban woodlands of eastern Wisconsin discovered
Posted by: seldom|seen on Friday, February 2, 2007 - 10:52 AM
Appleton, Wisconsin - Researchers from the World Wildelife Fund (WWF) conservation group may have made the extremely rare discovery of a new species of mammal in the thinning urban woodlands of central and eastern Wisconsin.
If confirmed, it would be the first time in more than a century that a new carnivore has been discovered in the state, which lies to the west of Lake Michigan in the Great Lakes Chain.
The carnivorous mammal, significantly smaller than the common raccoon with similar markings, was documented twice by a city employee in the early morning hours of January the 10th. “It ran like a raccoon but it had the hair of a hare” said Alajah Beehess, “Then it just froze in its tracks and took on an almost artificial posture in the beam of my flashlight.”
WWF ecologist, Stephan Wulffscaat said that a live capture of the animal is required to confirm it was a new species. Once confirmed, the species will be assigned its binomial nomenclature which it currently does not have. He said the animal appeared to be a smaller version of the common raccoon and likely spends most of its time in trees, coming out only at night to forage. The animal is now being referred to as the “raboon” by city employees because of its soft rabbit-like fur and small-size.
Wulffscaat quickly pointed out that the WWF does not have sufficient funds to conduct further research on the mammal or its habitat and is reaching out to naturalists in the surrounding community in a call for help.
The WWF today issued a request for catch and release volunteers to not only help document raboon sightings, but to also capture and log the animals whereabouts. The WWF is requesting that any sightings of the raboon be documented at the site of discovery, assuring volunteers that the live capture of a raboon will not be dangerous as the animal will probably go into it’s “artificial” pose when approached or handled.
The group said it was extremely rare these days to discover a new mammal species of this size, particularly a carnivore. The WWF is speculating that the species may have adapted to recent changes in urban ecology by mimicking inanimite objects when directly confronted in order to trick its predators into thinking it is just another part of the artificial urban landscape.
A spokesperson for WWF today released these coordinates of the last raboon sightings, along the Fox River in Appleton, speculating that the animal will be found within approximately .05 miles of this location but may be difficult to spot as it may be holed up in a tree during the day. N44° 15.538' W-88° 23.758'
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Last Updated: on 7/10/2013 7:23:59 AM Pacific Daylight Time (2:23 PM GMT)
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