New ferret-badger species found in central Vietnam

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A species of ferret-badger hitherto not known to western science has been found in a national park in the central Vietnamese province of Ninh Binh.

Tuoi Tre newspaper Wednesday quoted the non-profit organization PanNature as saying that the animal, Melogale cucphuongensis sp.nov, belongs to the genus Melogale, which has four species - together known as weasels -- and is mainly found in Indochina , Java, Bali, and parts of Borneo.

It has different characteristics from the other four -- a dark brown head and body with a black and white stripe running from neck to shoulders.

Newswire Dan Tri said the new species, locally known as chon bac ma (silver-cheeked fox) had first been discovered by the Cuc Phuong National Park's Endangered Primate Rescue Center in January 2006 when it attempted to rescue an injured ferret-badger.

However, its study was interrupted because the animal died, and not until recently could it find another animal of the same species.

The discovery has been announced in the German scientific journal Der Zoologische Garten.

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