Save the Weird Animals – creature of the week


Alongside highlighting music that deserves more attention (and which is sometimes strange and sometimes beautiful), we are fundraising for animals that deserve more attention (and are sometimes strange and sometimes beautiful) through the Zoological Society of London’s EDGE program for Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered Creatures.

You can find out more about their ongoing work on their blog.

Sally Wren is the charity’s representative and posts a creature of the week, from among the many distinctive endangered animals that EDGE supports worldwide, to our Facebook group on Fridays.

Starting this week we’ll also share these creatures of the week on our blog here… and this week the creature is the Golden-rumped Elephant-shrew!

Sally says:

“I’m normally favour amphibians over mammals, but I can’t say enough good things about this week’s EDGE critter – the wonderfully-named golden-rumped elephant shrew.

Elephant-shrews are so-named because they have long, flexible trunks, and when you see them in action they are actually surprisingly elephantine! Funnily en…ough, recent studies show that elephant shrews are in fact more closely related to elephants than to the shrew and hedgehog family with which they had been traditionally associated. Who knew?

The golden-rumped elephant shrew is the largest species in the group, at about the size of a small cat, with long spindly legs which look like they shouldn’t hold the creature’s weight. And as its name suggests, this species has a distinctive golden-coloured bottom.

Unusually for a small mammal, golden-rumped elephant shrews are monogamous, pairing with their partner elephant-shrew until one of them dies. Each pair has its own territory which they defend sex-specifically – the guys fight off the guys, and the girls fight off the girls (oooOOoooh – cat-fight!)

Frankly, I think the golden-rumped elephant shrew is amazing and deserves a lot of Storm-love!

“Threatened primarily by habitat destruction, the golden-rumped elephant shrew’s forest habitat has become highly fragmented, and most remaining areas are thought to be too small to support viable populations.

“The only sizeable areas of forest are under pressure from forestry practices such as tree and pole cutting, and encroachment for agriculture. Elephant-shrews are known to shelter from predators in hollow trees. However, many of the trees favoured by the species are being removed by woodcarvers who supply the tourist industry with carvings of African wildlife. The removal of these trees mean less hiding places for the elephant-shrews, making them more vulnerable to predators – both natural and introduced, like dogs.

“EDGE has supported a young Kenyan scientist, Grace Wambui Ngaruiya, who carried out monitoring surveys in the two forests where this species is found – including finding out more about the lesser-known population in the Boni forest on the Kenyan-Somalian border. We also funded Grace to come to a training course in the UK where she learned more conservation skills.

“Luckily, the stronghold population in the 420 km² Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, which is protected and managed by the Forest Department and Kenya Wildlife Service. A 25 year Strategic Management Plan (2002-2027) for the forest has been developed, which focuses on promoting long-term conservation through sustainable management and community participation in forest conservation.

“Oh, and check out a video of it’s elephant-like ‘trunk’ movements here: http://www.arkive.org/golden-rumped-elephant-shrew/rhynchocyon-chrysopygus/video-00.html

“It’s great!

“Have a lovely sunny weekend :o)”

If you can spare £2 or more to support EDGE’s work for these and many other animals, please get straight to our JustGiving page and do your bit – you can even plug your favourite band in a message there at the same time if you like!

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