Meet the teddy-bear-like olinguito, the raccoon relative that’s our hemisphere’s first new carnivore in 35 years
It looks like a mix between a cat and a teddy bear, lives in the high cloud forest of the Andes Mountains and is the first new carnivore found in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years.
Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington on Wednesday called the olinguito a “major discovery” that was overlooked for decades despite a specimen sitting in the cabinets of a Chicago museum. Weighing just under a kilogram, the olinguito is part of a family of animals related to raccoons.
“The olinguito shows us that the world is not yet completely explored, its most basic secrets not yet revealed,” Kristofer Helgen, the curator of mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History who led the expedition to track down the animal, said in a statement. “If new carnivores can still be found, what other surprises await us?” (Photo: AP Photo / Mark Gurney)