Photo credit: Uthai Treesucon
The Laotian Rock Rat, Laonastes aenigmamus, is listed as ‘ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. This recently described species is the sole surviving member of the Diatomyidae family, an ancient group of rodents previously considered to have been extinct for some 11 million years.
While the status of the Laotian Rock Rat is not entirely clear, it is thought to be threatened by hunting and habitat loss. Hunting of the Laotian Rock Rat is prevalent throughout its range, and as the species was identified by specimens from a bushmeat market, there is concern that this hunting is unsustainable. The species’ karst habitat is relatively safe from large-scale destruction; however, more accessible areas are vulnerable to degradation from logging and firewood collection.
The Laotian Rock Rat is afforded some sanctuary in the Khammouan Limestone National Biodiversity Conservation Area. However, with very little known about this enigmatic species, there is a need for further surveys to evaluate its species population status and threats.
To learn more about the Laotian Rock Rat, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.
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