A rare dog may finally be having its day: The New Guinea singing dog, an elusive canine related to the Australian dingo, has been possibly spotted in New Guinea.
Feared extinct in its highlands habitat, the singing dogâ€”whose name comes from its coyote-like howlsâ€”was last photographed in the wild 23 years ago.
At least 200 captive singing dogs live in zoos and as pets around the world, ancestors of a few wild dogs captured in the 1950s. But the animalsâ€”which resemble a domestic dog breed called the Shiba Inuâ€”are severely inbred due to a lack of new genes.
In September, members of an Adventure Alternative Borneo tour group hiking the remote Mandala Mountain in West Papua, Indonesia, were surprised to see a tawny, thick-coated dog staring at them from a hillside.
“We watched it for around 15 minutes as it continued to watch us. It seemed as curious as we were, but not particularly scared or nervous,” tour director Tom Hewitt wrote on his blog.
“What stood out was how healthy it looked upon closer examination with binoculars.”