In 2016, conservation biologist Holly O’Donnell was striding through the Amazon rainforest in southwestern Peru, recording every mammal she saw or heard while performing a line transect survey for the Peruvian NGO Fauna Forever. A few minutes into her walk, she smelled something fetid. Following the scent several meters off the trail, she found the carcass of a nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), which may have died due to a recent cold weather event called a friaje. She hurried back to Fauna Forever’s camp at Las Piedras Amazon Center to get a spare camera trap, and installed it near the dead armadillo. She hoped to capture a wild cat like an ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) or a jaguar (Panthera onca) preying upon the carcass, but mostly expected to see vultures. A couple of weeks later, O’Donnell retrieved the memory card from the camera. As expected, she found clip after clip of vultures pecking at the armadillo. But then she saw something unexpected: A short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis) darted past the lens, sniffing and nibbling at the carcass. “I didn’t believe it at first,” O’Donnell, a researcher at the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), told Mongabay in an interview. “[I thought] it can’t be a short-eared dog, it must be wrong. Maybe it’s a pet … but no, it was [a short-eared dog].” O’Donnell’s disbelief was justified. Short-eared dogs, a near-threatened species endemic to the Amazon Basin, are notoriously elusive, making them a difficult species to study. At Fauna Forever,…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer