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07/10/2013

How to find the rarest dog in the world: On the trail of the New Guinea Singing Dog  »

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Why is the New Guinea Singing Dog so special? Why should we be trying to save its dwindling wild population?

The Highland Wild Dog of the Island of Papua is considered by many to be the rarest dog on the planet. NGSDs exhibit many unique behaviors found nowhere else in any other breeds of dogs. NGSDs are considered [to be the] link between the first dog—wolf—and today’s domestic breeds. Isolation has kept them pure, but encroaching villagers, accompanied by their domestic village dogs, threatens their continued genetic purity. Little is known about the captive needs and behaviors of NGSDs, but nothing is known about their natural history in the wild. No scientific estimates of the wild population can legitimately be made. Education, scientific captive management, and habitat and species protection are just some of the measures that need to be taken if the NGSD is to survive.

Becky Crew of Running Ponies continues the story of “the rarest dog in the world" with an interview with field zoologist James McIntyre of the Southwest Pacific Research Foundation, who is leading an expedition to find and study the dogs in the wild.

[photo of captive New Guinea Singing Dogs by Nathan Rupert via Flickr]

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