Meet the Olinguito!
Recently discovered by Minnesota scientist, Kristofer Helgen, is a rare and adorable new species of mammal called the olinguito (pronounced oh-lin-GHEE-toe). Formally identified in 2013, olinguitos are the newest member of the order Carnivora, which includes civets, raccoons, cats, bears, and hyenas. It was the first mammalian carnivore species to be newly identified in the western hemisphere in 35 years! It lives exclusively in the misty habitat, (it's formal name, Bassaricyon neblina, comes from the Spanish word for fog), of high-elevation Andean cloud forests in Ecuador and Columbia. This is a life-sized sculpture of the olinguito who is omnivorous primarily eating fruits, but also insects, and nectar, and is nocturnal or active mostly at night. It isn't yet an endangered species but it's habit is dwindeling.
"We also kind of hope that in telling this story to the world about the olinguito, that this beautiful new animal serves as something of an ambassador for those embattled cloud forest habitats."- Kristofer Helgen