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China Eco Tales: The Mount Gaoligong Flying Squirrel

Posted Date: Friday 2 August 2019    

Kadoorie Conservation China Department (KCC) of KFBG team up with the Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and other partners have recently discovered a new mammal species, the Mount Gaoligong Flying Squirrel (Biswamoyopterus gaoligongensis), in Gaoligongshan of western Yunnan. The findings have been published in the international taxonomic journal ZooKeys

Biswamoyopterus is one of the most mysterious group of mammals in the world with only two recognised species: the Namdapha Flying Squirrel (B. biswasi) of northeast India found in 1981 and the Laotian Giant Flying Squirrel (B. laoensis) of central Laos discovered in 2013. Only one specimen each has been collected and this is all we know of this group of nocturnal squirrels. The discovery of Mount Gaoligong Flying Squirrel not only added a new genus and new species for the fauna of China, but also filled the vast distribution gap between India and Lao PDR, giving us new insights in understanding these rarely-known animals.

KCC is privileged to have observed the new species in the wild, and obtained the world’s first and the only images of these rare flying squirrels during the survey. Our fieldworks in Gaoligongshan started in 2014 and have yielded a number of exciting discoveries, including the discoveries of 3 new amphibian species, the first record of Red Serow (Capricornis rubidus) for China, the largest population of Gaoligong Gibbon (Hoolock tianxing) and the rediscovery of the Marbled Cat (Pardofelis marmorata) for Yunnan after 30 years. We compiled some of our survey data into a field guide entitled "Biodiversity of Tengchong, Gaoligongshan", which is available in KFBG Farm Shop and Green Hub.

The Mount Gaoligong Flying Squirrel