Animal Info - Colombian Weasel

(Other Names: Comadreja de Felipe, Don Felipe's Weasel, Water Weasel)

Mustela felipei

Status: Endangered


Contents

1. Profile
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Weight, Habitat, Behavior)
5. References


Profile

One Colombian weasel weighed 138 g (5 oz). Known specimens have been collected in areas close to water at elevations of 1750 and 2700 m (5740' and 8900'), an altitude where cloud forests predominate. One specimen was collected in a region of the upper Suaza River valley where the river contains stretches with torrential currents which are interrupted by quiet pools (Schreiber et al. 1989). However, the most recent collection was in rugged terrain but not near water. Webbing between the toes and its (mostly) riparian distribution suggests that the Colombian weasel is aquatic.

Five specimens of the Colombian weasel have been found in the highlands of the Cordillera Central of western Colombia and in the Andes of northern Ecuador. There is extensive deforestation in the area where it has been found; however, it is not yet established whether this is having an adverse effect on the weasel.


Tidbits

*** Inhabitants of areas adjoining sites where the Colombian weasel was being studied were asked which mammals they were familiar with. Almost all farm-dwelling people questioned had seen weasels, and usually thought of them as pests, since most encounters involved predation upon chickens or domestic guinea pigs (Fawcett et al. 1996).

*** The Colombian weasel is probably the rarest carnivore in South America. As of 1989, virtually nothing was known about its distribution, its status or its ecology. (Schreiber et al. 1989)

*** As of 1996, only five specimens of the Colombian weasel were known. Three of them were originally mis-labeled as the long-tailed weasel, Mustela frenata, before the Colombian weasel had been identified as a separate species.


Status and Trends

IUCN Status:

Countries Where the Colombian Weasel Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in Colombia and Ecuador (IUCN 2004).

History of Distribution:

Five specimens have been found in the highlands of the Cordillera Central of western Colombia near San Agustin, Huila Province and Popayan, Cauca Province, and in the Andes of northern Ecuador.

Distribution Map (19 Kb) (InfoNatura) 

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

There is extensive deforestation in the area where the Colombian weasel has been found; however, it is not yet established whether this is having an adverse effect on the weasel.


Data on Biology and Ecology

Weight:

One Colombian weasel weighed 138 g (5 oz).

Habitat:

One Colombian weasel weighed 138 g (5 oz). Known specimens have been collected in areas close to water at elevations of 1750 and 2700 m (5740' and 8900'), an altitude where cloud forests predominate. One specimen was collected in a region of the upper Suaza River valley where the river contains stretches with torrential currents which are interrupted by quiet pools (Schreiber et al. 1989). However, the most recent collection was in rugged terrain but not near water.

The Colombian weasel is one of the species that live in the Tropical Andes Biodiversity Hotspot (Cons. Intl.)

Behavior:

Webbing between the toes and riparian distribution suggests that it is aquatic.


References

Burton & Pearson 1987, Cons. Intl., Emmons & Feer 1997, Fawcett et al. 1996, InfoNatura, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, IUCN 2004, Izor & de la Torre 1978, Nowak 1999, Nowak & Paradiso 1983, Schreiber et al. 1989


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Last modified: January 30, 2005;

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