Tales from the Cryptozoologists

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1996:

Hym Ebedes of the Onderstepoort
Veterinary Institute near Pretoria, South
Africa, on July 13 reported his discovery of
Barbary lions––a species believed to have
been extinct––at an obscure zoo in Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia, where their pride has apparently
lived since 1974. Descendants of the
mascots of former Ethiopian emperor Haile
Selassie, who styled himself The Lion of
Judah, the 11 males have long black manes
that sweep under their bellies. The females
resemble other African lions. “Over the past
35 years I have seen hundreds of wild lions,”
Ebedes said, “but I have never seen anything
so majestic and magnificent. The sight of a
black-maned lion pacing around his cage had
an indescribable spine-chilling effect on me.

The animal was exactly as I had always visualized
and pictured the Cape lion, which
because extinct 150 years ago,” through
aggressive trophy hunting. Though found at
opposite ends of Africa, the Barbary and Cape
lions had strikingly similar features, and occupied
similar relatively cool and open habitat.
An injured bat discovered by Dutch
visitor Frederick van Binsbergben, 30, in the
heavily trafficked New Forest of Britain, was
identified by head keeper Martin Noble as a
specimen of Bechstein’s bat, not confirmed to
exist since 1886, though reportedly seen three
times during the past decade. The tiny bats
weigh just half an ounce each. That bat died,
but English Nature species protection officer
Rosann Sparshott found the bat nursery, the
first ever seen, after an extensive search of the
area. As of August 24, she said, the nursery
included five adults plus young. Females produce
one baby per year.
Conservation International president
Russell Mittermeier on June 18
announced the discovery of the sixth new
species of marmoset to be found in the
Amazon rainforest since 1990. The newly
found Satere marmoset is named for the Satere
indigenous people, who inhabit the same area,
between the Madeira and Tapajos rivers.
Mittermeier described it as having a distinctive
face and ears, unpigmented facial skin,
mahogany fur, and unique fleshy appendages
on the genitalia of both sexes, of unknown
purpose. The Amazon region, now being
logged at a record pace, is home of 75 of the
250 known primate species, and Mittermeier
believes others remain to be discovered.
Villagers in Bach Ma National
Park, Vietnam, circa September 1 captured a
pair of Edwards pheasants, one of whom died,
the World Wildlife Fund anounced September
4. Last seen in 1985, wild Edwards pheasants
were last caught in 1928, but about 500 survive
in zoos.
DNA study by Cecilia Saccone of
the University of Bari, Italy, indicates that
the 1,814 species currently grouped as rodents
should actually be divided into separate families,
some of which may have diverged quite
early in mammal evolution. Confirming 1991
findings by other researchers, Saccone found
that guinea pigs are more closely related to
cows and humans than to rats and mice.
Mammals emerged at about the same time as
dinosaurs, circa 235 million years ago, but
did not become the dominant variety of land
animal until the extinction of all branches of
dinosauria except the birds about 65 million
years ago.

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