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If you happen to be walking in the remote, high-elevation forests on Papua New Guinea, you might catch yourself doing a double-take, wondering - was that a singing dingo? Dingo? No. Singing? Yes! The rare singing dog of New Guinea has made its first appearance in 23 years.
This singing pooch is known as one of the rarest dogs in the world, and was first discovered in New Guinea in 1997. With fox-like features, similar to the domesticated Shiba Inu (pictured), researchers have found that the breed may be older than the dingo. The ancestors of these canines were probably transported to the islands of New Guinea 6,000 years ago.
These dogs are called singers because of the coyote-like, howling, single note they each emit. When you get a group of them together, they each have different pitches, similar to a barber shop chorus.
At least 200 of these harmonizing dogs live in captivity in zoos around the world, but they were thought to be extinct in the wild. In September, an Adventure Alternative Borneo tour group saw the rare dog in remote Mandala Mountain in West Papua, Indonesia. Researches watched the dog for about 15 minutes, and he watched them in return. There were a number of signs that showed they made a rare sighting of what they had thought to be an extinct dog.
The dog showed no fear - typical of shy animals that have been isolated from humans or predators for centuries, said James McIntyre, a Florida-based independent zoologist. The dog was also found where it was known to have resided in the past, in secluded, high elevations of New Guinea.
However, pooch found was lighter in color – these dogs are usually reddish-brown or black and tan. But with more investigation, researchers hope this will lead to listing the singing dog as a subspecies with the International Union of Conservation of Nature and the beginning of the preservation and conservation of one of the oldest dogs of our time.