The New Guinea singing dog, an extremely rare dog that is known for its unique barks and howls, has been found thriving once again in the remote highlands of the western side of New Guinea in Indonesia.
Only around 200 captive singing dogs, descendants of wild dogs captured back in the 1970s, live in conservation centers or zoos. None had been found in the wild for half a century.
But an expedition in 2016 allowed experts to study 15 wild dogs in Papua. In 2018, a new expedition returned to the site and collected biological samples to see whether the wild dogs are predecessors of the singing dogs.
A research published in the journal PNAS showed that the blood collected from the dogs showed they are closely linked to each other than any other canine. Though they were not identical, the researchers believed the dogs they found in Papua are also the wild and originals New Guinea singing dog population.
“They look most related to a population of conservation biology new guinea singing dogs that were descended from eight dogs brought to the United States many, many, many years ago,” said Elaine Ostrander, a distinguished investigator at the National Institutes of Health and senior author of the paper.
“The conservation dogs are super inbred; (it) started with eight dogs, and they’ve been bred to each other, bred to each other, and bred to each other for generations — so they’ve lost a lot of genetic diversity,” she added.