Monthly Archives: December 2012

The dog whispers: Suspected singing dog spotted in New Guinea

A recent report featured on the National Geographic’s official website suggests that a rare breed of singing dog —a name attributed to their unique vocalization—may have been possibly spotted in New Guinea. The Australian dingo-related canine, which was believed to be already extinct, was last photographed in the wild more than two decades ago.

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Most of the singing dogs known today are held captive in zoos or are found in private homes as pets. However, all of them are largely inbred due to a very limited gene pool. Just a few months ago, members of a Borneo tour group led by Tom Hewitt were surprised to see an ochre-colored, thick-coated dog staring at them from a hillside while they were trekking the far-flung Mandala Mountain in West Papua, Indonesia. Supported by a number of circumstances, Hewitt and his team’s experience may be claimed to be a sighting of the very rare singing dog.

According to James McIntyre, a Florida-based independent zoologist, the dog spotted by the Borneo team shows characteristics typical to the legendary singing dog—showing no signs of fear toward humans, and living in an extremely secluded, high-elevation habitat.

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However, head of the US-based New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society Janice Koler-Matznick does not completely believe in the authenticity of the dog’s photograph. She said the singing dogs were either reddish brown or black but the picture shows a light-colored dog which has never been seen before in singing canines.

Whether the photo is authentic or not, this sighting could serve as an opportunity for scientists to put up increased effort in enforcing singing dog conservation. This is the only real chance to build a sanctuary of the remnants of one the earliest types of dog.

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Janique Goff is an eco-activist. For more updates about the environment, visit this Twitter page.