Giant pig-like mammal found in Brazil's rainforest

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London, Nov 5 (UNI) A giant pig-like mammal which grows to a length of more than four feet and is almost twice as heavy as other members of the peccary family has been discovered in Brazil's Amazon rainforest.

The giant peccary was found by Dr Marc van Roosmalen, a Dutch primatologist, who captured four of the creatures on film.

Called caitetu munde, meaning ''great peccary which lives in pairs'', the mammal is only known to live along the banks of the Aripuana river and its tributaries.

The species may already be endangered by illegal logging. ''We fear that commercial hunters using trained dogs will focus on caitetu munde to feed hungry settlers,'' Dr Van Roosmalen said.

Scientists have recommended that the animal be placed on the Red List of threatened species run by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, the Independent reported.

Describing the animal, the primatologist said, ''It walks silently through its preferred habitat-- dense terra firma climax forest-- in small family groups that contain only an adult pair with or without 1-2 offspring.'' Caitetu munde is larger than its cousins, but is more slightly built, with longer legs and a relatively small head. It also has different markings. While its relatives dig up the ground in search of seeds and roots, it lives mostly off freshly fallen fruit.


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