Photo by: New Guinea Highland Wild Dog Union
Scientists believe that the wild wild dogs of New Guinea are extinct in their natural habitat. But the researchers confirmed that roaming packages are in one of the most unlikely places.
DNA analysis has confirmed that a species previously thought extinct in its native habitat is alive and thriving well, with males, females and pups living in isolation and far from any human contact. This new population of wild dogs in New Guinea is the first time it has been sighted in more than 50 years, an incredible testament to their survival and an opportunity for more research and science, according to the New Highland Wild Dog Foundation (NGHWDF). The group behind this discovery was in the remote and inhospitable region of New Guinea in which it was found.
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An expedition in 2016 located and collected documents and biological samples of the animals, and established that some of the believed missing dogs are still lingering and thriving in the highlands of New Guinea. Up to this point, only two photographs of the dog had been seen in about half a century, taken in 2005 and 2012 respectively. Zoologist James K. McIntyre carried out the expedition and joined researchers from the University of Papua, who were searching for ancient dog species.
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The team also had direct observation, documentation, and analysis of DNA and fecal samples confirming that they are related to the relatives of the Australian dingoe and the New Guinea singing dog. While researchers aren’t sure how all dogs are related, and that they exist and can be studied further, that would go a long way to establishing that relationship. The species was once thought to have arrived with human migrants more than 6,000 years ago, but now new evidence suggests they may have migrated without human escort.
More importantly, the researchers are optimistic about their chances of survival, because the group they found was filled with burgeoning packets and new pups. And they seem to have done well with the stewardship measures of the local mining companies, thriving in inadvertently created sanctuaries enjoyed by these rare beauties. This research is ongoing and more information is expected in the next few months.