May 5, 2010
Recently classified as three separate species, long-beaked echidnas belong to an ancient clade of egg-laying mammals that includes the platypus of Australia. They are easily distinguished from short-beaked echidnas by their long snouts, which account for two-thirds of the length of the head. Despite laws designed to protect these species, they are in decline in areas accessible to humans.
Echidnas have lost much of their forest habitat to logging, mining and farming, and are regarded as highly prized game animals by local people, who hunt them with specially trained dogs. One species, Attenborough's long-beaked echidna, is thought to have an extremely restricted range and may be at high risk of extinction.
Thanks to our pals at EDGE for today's Endangered Stranger!