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Machu Picchu's chinchilla rat found alive and well

Scientists in Peru have tracked down a species of rat long thought to be extinct on the thickly-forested slopes near Machu Picchu.

The arborial chinchilla rat was found near the famous Inca settlement of Machu Picchu Credit: REUTERS/Benjamin Dell Orto

The arboreal chinchilla rat, which is the size of a cat and looks like a particularly fluffy dormouse, was previously known only through two skulls found in some 400-year-old pottery.

In 2009, a park ranger reported that he had seen an animal matching the description, but not until now have scientists been able to confirm the discovery.

They say the creature's future is threatened by habitat loss, but add that it is afforded some protection by the Machu Picchu national park.

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Peru drug smuggler to be sent to N Ireland prison

A convicted drug smuggler jailed in Peru is set to be transferred to Northern Ireland where she will serve the rest of her sentence.

Michaella McCollum Connolly (left) and Melissa Reid. Credit: Police handout

Michaella McCollum, from Dungannon, County Tyrone, and her friend Melissa Reid, from Glasgow, were jailed last year for six years and eight months.

The pair both admitted to trying to smuggle cocaine worth £1.5 million from the South American country to Spain.

Reid could serve rest of Peru drug sentence in UK

Melissa Reid claimed she was forced to board a flight with 24lb of cocaine hidden in her luggage. Credit: Reuters/Mariana Bazo

Melissa Reid, one of two women convicted of drug smuggling in Peru last year, could serve the rest of her sentence in the UK after Lima authorities requested a transfer.

The Scottish Prison Service confirmed it has received a repatriation application that could see the 20-year-old return home in the coming months.

Reid and Michaella McCollum, from Ireland, were both jailed for six years and eight months in September after pleading guilty to boarding a flight at Lima airport with a £1.5 million haul of cocaine.

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Uncontacted Amazon tribe reacts to planes overhead

A series of pictures of a remote, uncontacted tribe in the Amazon basin has been released. The pictures were taken near the Xinane river in Brazil's Acre State, close to its border with Peru.

The tribe was first identified as "uncontacted" in 2011 when satellite pictures revealed this community was living near the border with Peru.

Indians who are considered uncontacted by anthropologists react to a plane flying over their community in the Amazon basin Credit: Reuters

In the latest pictures, taken on March 25, the uncontacted people are seen reacting to a plane flying overhead. As many as five tribal men can be seen raising their weapons in a threatening manner at the plane.

The tribe is based near Xinane river in Brazil's Acre State, near the border with Peru, Credit: Reuters

Family of Peru drug smuggler insist she is innocent

The family of Michaella McCollum, who was jailed for over six years for attempting to smuggle cocaine out of Peru, have said they still believe she is innocent.

Michaella's sister Samantha said she was "devastated" over the ordeal and wished she could "look after and protect" her sister.

The family also revealed said they would not celebrating Christmas this year following the ordeal.

To hear more of the interview, visit ITV Daybreak

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