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New black and white 'panda bat' found in South Sudan

Researchers say the black and white bat found in South Sudan is an entirely new genus named Niumbaha.

New bat found 2013 04 10Enlarge
The newly-discovered Niumbaha superba, dubbed the "panda bat," discovered in South Sudan. (Bucknell University/Courtesy)

A new black and white bat nicknamed the "panda bat" has been found in South Sudan.

Called the "find of a lifetime," the bat is so rare that researchers believe it is an entirely new genus, according to findings published in the journal ZooKeys.

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Bucknell University biologist DeeAnn Reeder and Adrian Garside of Britain's Fauna & Flora International were leading a team of wildlife personnel when they made the discovery in the Bangangi Game Reserve.

"My attention was immediately drawn to the bat's strikingly beautiful and distinct pattern of spots and stripes," Reeder said in a statement. "It was clearly a very extraordinary animal, one that I had never seen before."

She recognized the bat as the same one captured in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1939, although Reeder and her colleagues did not believe it belonged in the genus it had been categorized in.

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They placed the "panda bat" into a new genus called Niumbaha.

The word means "rare" or "unusual" in Zande, the language of the Azande people in the state where the bat was captured, according to The Daily Mail.

The bat is just the fifth specimen of its kind ever collected and the first in South Sudan, which gained its independence in 2011.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/130410/new-black-and-white-bat-south-sudan