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Tiny Elephant Shrew Spotted Alive in Africa For The First Time in 50 Years

A tiny mouse-sized elephant shrew has been discovered in Africa after being lost to science for the past 50 years

The Somali sengi

This precious little fur-ball is the Somali elephant shrew (or Somali sengi) and it hasn’t been documented by researchers since 1968.

These adorable little critters can run around at 30 km/h, suck up ants with their nose and even mate for life.

Tiny Elephant Shrews Have Been Rediscovered In Africa After Being Classed As A 'Lost Species' For The Last 50 Years
zoofanatic

This little baby was found in Djibouti, a country in the Horn of Africa, next door to Somalia.

The group of scientists heard about the mysterious sightings, so decided to explore themselves. They found 12 different elephant shrews during the expedition.

Tiny Elephant Shrews Have Been Rediscovered In Africa After Being Classed As A 'Lost Species' For The Last 50 Years
Smithsonian’s National Zoo

“We did not know which species occurred in Djibouti and when we saw the diagnostic feature of a little tufted tail, we looked at each other and we knew that it was something special,” said Steven Heritage, a research scientist at the Duke University Lemur Center, to the BBC.

“We were really excited and elated when we opened the first trap that had an elephant shrew in it, a Somali sengi”

Tiny Elephant Shrews Have Been Rediscovered In Africa After Being Classed As A 'Lost Species' For The Last 50 Years
Mallory Lindsay

What’s interesting is that the people of Djibouti never even considered these critters to be missing.

“This is a welcome and wonderful rediscovery during a time of turmoil for our planet, and one that fills us with renewed hope for the remaining small mammal species on our most-wanted list, such as the DeWinton’s golden mole, a relative of the sengi, and the Ilin Island cloud runner,” said Steven Heritage.

Tiny Elephant Shrews Have Been Rediscovered In Africa After Being Classed As A 'Lost Species' For The Last 50 Years
Smithsonian’s National Zoo

“Finding that the Somali sengi exists in the wild is the first step in conservation. Now that we know it survives, scientists and conservationists will be able to ensure it never disappears again,” Kelsey Neam of Global Wildlife Conservation told BBC.

This animal is so small that it could fit in the palm of your hand!

Tiny Elephant Shrews Have Been Rediscovered In Africa After Being Classed As A 'Lost Species' For The Last 50 Years
Josh More

There are 20 different species of elephant shrew, and the Somali shrew may be the most elusive.

Tiny Elephant Shrews Have Been Rediscovered In Africa After Being Classed As A 'Lost Species' For The Last 50 Years
Smithsonian’s National Zoo

“They are not well-known animals, but when you see them, it’s impossible not to adore them”

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Written by Joe Kahlo

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