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

A Penguin's Waddle Is More Efficient Than Your Walk (Who's Laughing Now?)

Penguins swim with speed and grace, but on land, they're an adorable mess, heaving their portly bodies to and fro to shuffle one stubby little leg in front of the other. Well, don't be so quick to judge; that cartoonish walk is actually among the most efficient in the animal kingdom. It's even more efficient than yours.

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?

Frozen Ice Sculptures Could Save a Himalayan Cold Desert

Ladakh, a Himalayan cold desert with stunning mountains and blue waters is no stranger to the impact of a changing climate. But could manmade glaciers save this landscape and its people?

Narwhal: The One With Two Waggly Tails?

Meet Narwhal, an adorable pup with two tails. But how did this anomaly happen? Read on to learn more.

Florida’s Python Problem is Threatening the Rest of North America

Dusty Crum has doubled-down on his mission to save America’s ecosystem from the invasive species.

The Ocean Cleanup Successfully Catches Plastic in Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Humankind’s disgraceful rubbish footprint swirling between California and Hawaii may have just met its match.

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!

Meet Dogor, Your 18,000-Year-Old Best "Friend"

Dogor may have died 18,000 years ago, but his body has remained perfectly preserved — all-the-way down to the whiskers.

Tracking Hurricane Dorian: Here's Everything You Need to Know

Here is what you need to know about the tropical cyclone making its way to the U.S. mainland.

The Science Behind Hurricanes

Hurricane season is back. Here’s what you need to know about these violent storms.