Animals Nature

Lost and Found: The Somali Elephant Shrew is back!

The Somali Sengi, also known as the Somali Elephant Shrew, is back after a 50-year hiatus. The small insectivorous mammal endemic to Somalia was deemed extinct since the 1970s by the Global Wildlife Conservation’s list of lost species. 

But scientists recently rediscovered a thriving population of Somali Sengi in Djibouti. 

“Here we report new evidence that the Somali Sengi is currently extant,” says the study.

“These data include voucher specimens, georeferenced occurrence localities, body measurements, habitat parameters, and DNA sequences. While the species is historically documented as endemic to Somalia, these new records are from the neighboring Republic of Djibouti and thus expand the Somali Sengi’s known range in the Horn of Africa.”

The adorable mouse-sized creature features a long snout that allows it to suck up ants into its trunk-like nose. The animal is also known to pick up speeds of 19 miles per hour. 

The shrew is neither elephant nor shrew, to be exact, but a distant relative to aardvarks, hyraxes, and manatees.  

Lost for half a century and found, let’s hope we never lose sight of the adorable Somali Sengi again.  

Lost and Found: The Somali Elephant Shrew is back!
Photo: pum_eva from Getty Images via Canva Pro
Lost and Found: The Somali Elephant Shrew is back!
Photo: Courtesy of Steven Heritage

By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger and curious explorer of the world who connects the dots between life, arts, and knowledge.