The four-wheel-drive bumped over a rutted road. Rain that began as soon as they left the pavement was so thick that the road, compacted by traffic, became slippery, and the tires dug-in. It was 8 a.m. At the wheel was Nick Mcphee, Australian conservationist-turned Bolivian ecotourism uber-specialist, and with him were Bolivian biologist Huáscar Bustillos Cayoja, environmental impact social biologist Paula Silva, and professional photographer Ivan Gutierrez. They thought they might get stuck in the mud, but there was no thought of turning back. It would take another hour and a half to get to their destination. Giving up was not an option. They were after a holy grail of conservationists  —  a live sighting and registration of one of the rarest of the rare armadillos in the world, the elusive Chacoan fairy armadillo (Calyptophractus retusus), also known as the greater fairy armadillo, the mythical culotapado of local lore, or tatujeikurajoyava to the Guaranis of the Bolivian Chaco. Alternatively called tatu or coseberu by those in the cities, or “the cryer” by its 18th-century discoverers, it is also known to science as Burmeister’s armadillo. There was a lot of excitement. Illustration by Hermann Burmeister (1807-1892) – Hermann Burmeister: Ein neuer Chlamyphorus. Abhandlungen der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft zu Halle 7, 1863, S. 165–171 (S. 171), Public Domain. The night before at around 6 pm, in the region of La Florida in the westernmost part of Santa Cruz Department in eastern Bolivia, farmer Milton López Viruez was driving his truck slowly on the…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer