New pictures offer proof that New Guinea’s highland wild dog has survived. Until now, these dogs were considered extinct in their natural habitat in the mountains of the sparsely populated South Pacific island.
This is a big deal, because these wild dogs are among the rarest in the world. They’re close relatives of the famous singing dogs of New Guinea, and may even be identical to them.
Not only that, but they’re a seriously ancient breed. DNA evidence shows that New Guinea highland dogs might be an important link in the chain between wolves and domesticated dogs. Their DNA proves they’re one of the most “primitive canines alive today,” according to National Geographic.
A historic expedition
Researchers went on expedition deep in the mountains of New Guinea to take these photos. They set up camera traps with scent lures, and managed to capture images of at least 15 wild dogs, including males, females, and puppies.
Most of the dogs sport a golden, fawn-like color, but there are also dogs colored cream, reddish, black, and with other markings.
The dogs were photographed high in the mountains in the Papua Province, between about 11,000 and 14,000 feet above sea level.
Learn more about their close relatives, the rare New Guinea singing dogs, in this Animal Planet video.