Wildlife Conservation Society Announces New Snake Species

Spectacularly colored Matilda’s horned viper is discovered by WCS and Museo delle Scienze of Trento, Italy

New snake is restricted to remote forest in southwest Tanzania


NEW YORK (January 9, 2012) -- The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced the discovery of a spectacularly colored snake from a remote area of Tanzania in East Africa.

The striking black-and-yellow snake is called Matilda’s horned viper. It measures 2.1 feet (60 centimeters) and has horn-like scales above its eyes.

The discovery is described in the December issue of Zootaxa. Authors of the study include: Michele Menegon of Museo delle Scienze of Trento, Italy; Tim Davenport of the Wildlife Conservation Society; and Kim Howell of the University of Dar es Salaam.

The authors are keeping the exact location of the new species a secret, since the snake could be of interest to the illegal pet collectors. Its habitat, estimated at only a few square miles is already severely degraded from logging and charcoal manufacture. The authors expect the species will be classified as critically endangered and have already established a small captive breeding colony.

The snake is named after the daughter of co-author Tim Davenport, Director of WCS’s Tanzania Program. For more information about the snake, go to: http://www.atherismatildae.org/

Contact:
Stephen Sautner: 1-718-220-3682; ssautner@wcs.org
John Delaney: 1-718-220-3275; jdelaney@wcs.org


The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

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