There is so much beauty to behold in nature. Until just recently I had no idea that there were actual wild dogs in New Guinea. But apparently, the New Guinea Highland Wild Dogs are renowned for having very unique vocalizations. They were thought to have died out and become extinct since there were no sightings of them in the wild for around 50 years. But then some researchers found that there was a pack of wild dogs residing on the Indonesian side of the island of Papua, New Guinea. These wild dogs greatly resembled the Highland Wild Dogs, and it soon became clear to researchers that these extremely rare animals were still alive in the wild!
These Highland Wild Dogs are the rarest dog breed alive in the world, and they are described as being “living fossils.” In captivity, there are around 200 New Guinea Singing Dogs – but these are inbred versions of the original Highland Wild Dogs.
James McIntyre, the founder of the New Guinea Highland Wild Dog Foundation, was one of those who were part of the animals’ rediscovery. He’s also involved in the further research and study being done into these very ancient canines. Alongside other researchers, McIntyre and a group had published a research article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In their article, they prove that the discovered pack of dogs are indeed the original wild dogs, which are called New Guinea Highland Wild Dogs by the locals.
McIntyre said, “The New Guinea Singing Dog was the name developed by Caucasians.”
The first re-sighting was documented in 2016 up in the remote mountains. However, it wasn’t until a few years later when the team returned to the area and collected DNA samples from two of the elusive dogs that they were able to prove through DNA testing that these were the original “singing dogs.” The team found that they shared 72% of their DNA with those already in captivity, which meant that these wild dogs could potentially be a link between ancient dogs and modern domesticated dogs.
“I have long realized the importance of the HWD as a key ‘missing link’ canid that held the answers to so many questions that science has yet to reveal. I am personally honored and humbled to be party to the rediscovery of HWDs living in their natural environment and the sheer immensity of the science and research that is to follow.” McIntyre said.
This discovery is a big deal for the Highland Wild Dogs of New Guinea because it means that conservation efforts will be able to hopefully help bolster their numbers in the wild. Their very unique “singing” has been described as being a “wolf howl with overtones of whale song.”
Watch the incredible animals in the video below: