Scientists all over the world are thrilled over the discovery of the recently extinct New Guinea highland Mountain Dog. New photos confirm that these dogs still exist and are living in their natural habitat on the South Pacific Island.
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Although these animals are thought to be one of the rarest species of canine, the highland dog is related to or the same species to the famous singing dogs of New Guinea. These animals only exist in captivity.
The New Guinea dog could be the earliest ancestor of the domesticated dog living today. These dogs could provide answers to unanswered questions we have about the canine species.
“The discovery and confirmation of the [highland wild dog] for the first time in over half a century is not only exciting but an incredible opportunity for science,” the New Guinea Highland Wild Dog Foundation (NGHWDF) says on its website.
According to National Geographic, these animals have a story. The following excerpt comes from nationalgeographic.com
Luck came in 2016, when zoologist James K. McIntyre led a group of NGHWDF researchers on an expedition to the Papua Province. There, they came across researchers from the University of Papua, who were also eager to discover signs of the dog’s existence.
The trip delivered some promising initial evidence: a muddy pawprint.
Together, the university team and the NGHWDF deployed camera traps throughout the forests of the New Guinea highlands, roughly between 11,000 and 14,000 feet above sea level.
The trail cameras that they set up recorded more than 140 images of the dogs in just two days on the mountain summit of Puncak Jaya.
In addition to photographic evidence of these rare canines, the researchers observed the dogs first-hand and collected scat samples, which will help scientists better understand the animal’s modern lifestyle and rich history.
The New Guinea Highland Wild Dog Foundation gives us more information about the historical creatures.
“New Guinea Highland Wild Dogs, called Anging Penyani in the Bahasa Indonesian language, may be the same as or a progenitor of the rare, captive New Guinea Singing Dog populations and also a probable ancestor of the Australian Dingo. And despite stories, anecdotal reports and two intriguing but unconfirmed photographs, they have not been documented with certainty in their native range in over half a century.”
“Given the remoteness of the region and the fact that there are no permanent human inhabitants in area, any evidence of dogs could safely be attributed to the HWD. Trail cameras were immediately deployed throughout the area to monitor bait sites set up to attract the dogs. Over the next two days, the cameras captured over 140 images of HWDs living at altitude (4500 m) on Puncak Jaya, just adjacent to the immense Lorentz National Park. The team would soon discover that because Grasberg Mine and PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) have taken special environmental stewardship measures to protect the austere, remote area and ecosystem around the mine, they had inadvertently created a sanctuary in which the HWD could thrive.”
If you’d like more information about the New Guinea Mountain Dog, visit http://www.nghwdf.org/hwds