EXTINCT OR ALIVE 2

EXTINCT OR ALIVE 2

Forrest Galante With The Caiman He Caught Wide Shot

Believed-Extinct Rio Apaporis Caiman Rediscovered

By: Thom Fusco

The believed-extinct Rio Apaporis caiman (Caiman crocodilus apaporiensis) has been captured by Forrest Galante, wildlife biologist and host of Animal Planet’s EXTINCT OR ALIVE, and team, making history once again.

The caiman species, native to the FARC rebel-controlled Colombian Amazon rainforest, is a crocodilian that has been believed to be extinct since the 1980s. With a unique elongated snout and light-yellow skin, this crocodilian looks unlike any other in the world.

Galante and his dedicated crew embarked on a journey into the heart of a drug-controlled jungle, through harsh and lawless lands in hope of finding the Rio Apaprois caiman. “It’s a bizarre circumstance to be in a place where guerilla warfare has resulted in the protection of an ecosystem,” Galante remarked. Thanks to careful planning, great timing, and relentless perseverance, the team became the first westerners in over 30 years to set foot in this land and come back alive.

“Finding not just one, but a thriving population of Rio Apaporis caiman, in an area that we we’re told was completely inaccessible to westerners—going against the odds and danger after years of research and planning—was a flurry of emotions, the strongest of which was massive excitement followed by sincere encouragement,” Galante said.

Galante collected a number of genetic samples from living Rio Apaporis caimans on the expedition. Analysis of the samples, confirmed that the caiman Galante and team discovered are, in fact, the Rio Apaporis caiman.

The data not only confirmed the caiman’s identity, but it also met the criteria to describe a whole new species that has a unique evolutionary lineage dating back up to 7 million years.

Believed-Extinct Rio Apaporis Caiman Rediscovered 03:01

The believed-extinct Rio Apaporis caiman (Caiman crocodilus apaporiensis) has been rediscovered by Forrest Galante, wildlife biologist and host of Animal Planet’s EXTINCT OR ALIVE, and team, making history once again. The caiman species is a crocodilian that has been believed to be extinct since the 1980s.

A Colombian scientist named Sergio Balaguera-Reina has also discovered the caiman and published a paper on it this year. “The ongoing conservation work by an in-country scientist like Sergio is the best news of all,” Galante added.

See Galante and team make this massive discovery on EXTINCT OR ALIVE, airing on December 4 at 9P on Animal Planet or Animal Planet GO.

Next Up

What Fat Bears and Astronauts Have in Common

The mysteries around hibernating bears have intrigued curious children and researchers alike for ages. What is hibernation, what causes it and aren’t bears too big to truly hibernate? And probably most interestingly - could humans do this someday?

Fishermen and Scientist Develop Rope-less Gear to Save Whales

Fishermen are testing alternative rope-less gear in order to help an effort to save the critically endangered whale species.

5 Things You Didn't Know Climate Change Could Do

Climate change has some complex effects that you may not even realize exist. Read on to learn more.

If A Bat Were To Bite You In Your Sleep, You'd Probably Never Know

Rabies is rare, but most cases are associated with bats.

Mark Rober and MrBeast Team Up to Plant 20 Million Trees

They're planting 20 million trees, but they're on a deadline. Here's what you need to know to support their cause!

Baby Raptor Fossil Found in Alaska

Over 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, paleontologists found baby velociraptor fossils with big implications.

How COVID-19 Could Be Good News For Endangered Wildlife

Trafficking of wild animals around the world may be coming to a close, thanks to the novel coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the globe.

Take a Safari at Home

The San Diego Zoo is streaming some of their awesome animals-- LIVE!

America's Top 6 Wildflower Blooms

There is just a small window to view wildflowers, with most only popping up for a couple of months at a time. This year, we're bringing these stunning blooms to you.

Locust Swarms Plague India

With New Delhi, India on high alert after a nearby swarm of locusts, this terrifying natural phenomenon is enabled by ever-changing climate conditions and unique species behaviors.