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Enchanting discoveries

It is about the size of an adult’s thumb (about 8.4 cm) and weighs 10-15 grams* – the Buff-faced pygmy parrots (Micropsitta pusio) .  The world’s smallest parrot was found in that exotic volcano crater in New Guinea – Mount Bosavi.  It isn’t a new species – it is indeed widely distributed along the northern coastal strip of New Guinea – but 49 new species of animals were discovered in the crater  including a wooly rat the size of a cat, frogs with fangs and a new species of bat.  The volcano has been extinct for 200,000 years and the animals/species inside it have evolved almost separately from other species in New Guinea.

The forests of Papua are disappearing at 3.5% per year and there is intensive logging occurring only 30 km south of Mount Bosavi.

A TV show will be screened soon by the BBC on these discoveries – Broadcast of The Lost Land of the Volcano series will begin on BBC One on Tuesday 8 September at 2100 BST.

* My weights and measures don’t come from press accounts. They come from J.M. Forshaw,  ‘Parrots of the World’, 3rd edition 1989.  There are many varieties of pygmy parrots – apart from the Buff-faced there is the Yellow-capped, the Geelvink, Meek’s, Finsch’s and the Red-breasted. None seem to be endangered at present.

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