Laotian rock rat research and conservation program
Species name: LAOTIAN ROCK RAT
Latin name: Laonastes aenigmamus
Country: Laos, Vietnam
The Laotian rock rat, also known as Kha-nyou was discovered and described by scientists in 2005. It is the only representative of the Diatomyidae family considered extinct 11 million years ago! The Polish name of the Laotian fossil very well reflects the uniqueness of this animal. This rodent, more like a squirrel than a rat, is endemic to Laos and threatened with extinction through habitat destruction and poaching.
Zoo Wrocław together with Prague Zoo is the founder and precursor of research and protection of this species. The research program assumes the estimation of the species range, distribution and abundance also the programme aims to support Lao authorities in the protection of the species in nature reserves and in conservation breeding facilities. The research will be carried out for several years in an area difficult to access and dangerous for political and economic reasons. Scientists from the Museum of Natural History in Paris and the University of Life Sciences in Wrocław will participate in genetic research to help determine the status of the species and start conservation breeding.