Highland wild dog photographed in Indonesia. New Guinea Highland Wild Dog Foundation New Guinea singing dogs are known for their distinctive haunting wails. Once plentiful throughout the island, now only 200 to 300 of them remain in zoos and sanctuaries around the world. Descendants of a few wild dogs that were captured in the 1970s, those captive animals are the result of years of inbreeding because the gene pool is so small. The dogs were thought to be extinct in the wild for 50 years but a new study suggests that the ancestral dog population still thrives. Highland wild dogs living near the world’s largest gold mine in New Guinea’s highlands may be the same animal. If confirmed, the discovery can help with species conservation efforts. “Determining if the highland wild dog was in fact the New Guinea singing dog or its forerunner would be a mechanism for conservation biologists to restore some of the genetic variation lost in the conservation populations,” study co-author Elaine Ostrander, a geneticist at the U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute, tells Treehugger. The results of the study were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . Researchers had heard about similarly […]

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