For the first time in over half a century, a wild dog thought to be extinct was sighted in New Guinea.
The New Guinea Wild Dog, similar to the New Guinea Singing Dog (NGSD), is the rarest, most ancient canid currently living (Prior to this discovery, there were only known to be about 200 to 300 NGSDs living in captivity).
With no confirmed reports of wild specimens and only two potentially credible photographs, many feared that the New Guinea Wild Dog had become extinct in its native range and habitat along New Guinea’s remote central mountain spine.
Then in September 2016, inspired by nearly three decades of study by Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia, and after 3 and a half years of preparation, scientists from the University of Papua conducted a rapid assessment survey that was able to locate and document definitive proof of an apparently healthy, viable population of New Guinea Wild Dogs.
Based on that evidence along with reports from locals, trail cameras were deployed which captured over 100 photographs of at least 15 individuals, to include males, females, and pups ranging in age from about 3 to 5 months, living in isolated locations across the mountain range.
The New Guinea Wild Dog is likely the best living canid example available to scientists outside the fossil record, predating human agriculture and representing a critical “missing link” species having evolved little – and more importantly, free from selective breeding influences imposed by humans – since the time before the dawn of agriculture.
(Photo by New Guinea Highland Wild Dog Foundation)