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'Ghost dog' captured, enigmatic predator discovered in Bolivia

In the highlands of Beni, an area in northeastern Bolivia, the first specimen of the enigmatic and elusive "ghost dog," or short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis), has been discovered.

It is the first specimen captured alive and was spotted by chance in an area considered urban. It is the size of a fox.

It is a young animal, maybe about 7-8 months old. The veterinarians who took it into custody let it be known that they understood that it is not adult "because the testicles have not yet descended from the abdominal part."

photo Agencia Noticias Ambientales
An unexpected discovery
In the highlands of Beni, an area in the northeastern Bolivia, the first living specimen of the enigmatic and elusive "ghost dog" or short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis) was recently discovered. This animal was spotted by chance in an area considered urban, proving to be a surprising discovery for experts.
photo Agencia Noticias Ambientales
Unique characteristics of the "ghost dog"
The animal has distinctive features, such as a distinctive "hop" in its walk and a duck-like membrane between its fingers that makes it an excellent swimmer. It feeds on small mammals, fish, fruits and reptiles, and is similar in size to a fox.
photo Agencia Noticias Ambientales
Capture and recovery
After a period of careful observation, the "ghost dog" was caught through a cage-trap with bait. Even if it was in less than optimal physical condition, veterinarians avoided sedating it so as not to endanger its life. Thanks to a diet of chicken liver enriched with folic acid, the animal regained weight.
photo Agencia Noticias Ambientales
A young specimen
The "ghost dog" is a young animal, with an estimated age of 7 to 8 months. The veterinarians who took him into custody understood that he is a male who is not yet fully developed. After being captured, it was taken to the National Center for Genetic Improvement for further analysis.
photo A.microtis_by Galo Zapata-Rios_WCS
An endangered species
Considered one of the most elusive canids in the Amazon basin, you are more likely to see a jaguar than this lone predator. Deforestation in the Amazon is endangering their existence and, according to researchers at the University of California, the population of these animals could lower by 30 percent by 2027.
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