Besides Kintamani, Indonesia has other endemic dog breeds, one of which is the Papua Singing Dog. Its natural habitat is located in the peak area of Mount Jayawijaya.
Biologists have named this dog the Papua Singing Dog because it is incapable of barking. They let out a long wolf-like howl that sounds similar to singing. Tribes in the Jayawijaya highlands hold them in high regard, considering them the guardians of the Carstensz Pyramid plateau, the highest peak in Jayawijaya.
Unfortunately, since 1970, this Indonesian endemic, related to the New Guinea Singing Dog, has been considered by biologists to be extinct in its natural habitat. This was due to the species’ non-appearance in Carstensz, Mount Jayawijaya.
However, in July 2020, a PT Freeport Indonesia employee named Anang Dianto posted on Twitter about a mysterious dog sighting characterized by golden brown fur, triangular upright ears similar to a wolf, and a short black muzzle that resembles a fox. This dog is also said to be unable to bark, but instead howls long like a wolf. Anang then sent his findings to a research foundation based in Florida, United States, namely the New Guinea Highland Wild Dog Foundation (NGHWDF).
NGHWDF researcher James McIntyre responded to this information by stating that this was the dog they had been looking for – the Papuan Singing Dog! Previously, Mac (McIntyre’s nickname) shared that he and his team had conducted research in the Lorents National Park area in September 2016, collecting 140 photos and finding 15 wild dogs in the Papuan highlands.
The research continued in August 2018, this time with the cooperation of researchers from the University of Cendrawasih, Papua. They managed to take DNA samples from two wild dogs in the highlands of Papua, which ultimately proved that the Papuan Singing Dog is still alive.
With the support of photos sent by Anang, Mac continued this research by publishing it in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). In September 2020, the world was in an uproar that one of the world’s rarest dog species had not gone extinct, bringing new hope for wildlife conservation and further understanding of the Papuan highland ecosystem.