2 of the 10 New Species of 2013: The Olinguito, a mammal, The Kaweesak’s Dragon Tree with His Flowers
1. Olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina), a new carnivorous mammal from Colombia and Ecuador:
The Olinguito, Bassaricyon neblina, in the wild. Photo credit: Mark Gurney.
This animal resembles a cross between a slinky cat and a wide-eyed teddy bear. It lives secretively in cloud forests of the Andes mountains in Colombia and Ecuador. It is an arboreal carnivore that belongs to the family Procyonidae, which includes the familiar raccoon.
The olinguito is smaller, though, typically topping out at about 2 kg. It is the first new carnivorous mammal described in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years.
2. Kaweesak’s Dragon Tree (Dracaena kaweesakii), a new tree from Thailand:
Dracaena kaweesakii and its flowers. Credit: Warakorn Kasempankul / Parinya Siriponamat / Paul Wilkin.
The Kaweesak’s Dragon Tree grows up to 12 m tall. Beautiful, soft, sword-shaped leaves with white edges and cream-colored flowers with bright orange filaments are the hallmarks of this plant.
The tree is found in the limestone mountains of the Loei and Lop Buri Provinces in Thailand and may also be found in nearby Burma. Valued as a horticultural plant, its small number – perhaps 2,500, and the fact that it grows on limestone that is extracted for the manufacture of concrete, has earned this species a preliminary conservation status of endangered.
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