Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna, a rare egg-laying mammal, has been rediscovered in Indonesia after more than 60 years since it was last recorded. The species was named after Sir David Attenborough, a famous broadcaster and natural historian. The echidna was captured for the first time in photos and video footage using remote trail cameras set up in the Cyclops Mountains of Indonesia’s Papua Province.
long-beaked echidna, lost to science since 1961, has been rediscovered! pic.twitter.com/UDeuAO976q— Housing information (@usaHousingInfo) November 13, 2023
The animal is one of only five remaining species of monotremes, a distinct group of egg-laying mammals that includes the platypus. The rediscovery of the echidna is a result of a partnership between the University of Oxford, Indonesian NGO Yayasan Pelayanan Papua Nenda (YAPPENDA), Cenderawasih University (UNCEN), Papua BBKSDA, and the National Research and Innovation Agency of Indonesia (BRIN), Re:Wild.
The expedition team also made many other remarkable finds, including Mayr’s honeyeater, a bird lost to science since 2008, an entirely new genus of tree-dwelling shrimp, countless new species of insects, and a previously unknown cave system.
Current population of attenborough’s long-beaked echidna
- The current population of Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna is unknown.
- The species is considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- The echidna is the smallest and probably the most threatened of the three long-beaked echidna species.
- It is known from a single specimen collected by a Dutch botanist during an expedition to the Cyclops Mountains in 1961.
- Despite more recent attempts to search for the species, it has remained elusive and was believed extinct by the research community until EDGE team members visited the mountains in 2007.
- Although no individuals were sighted, echidna signs were found, and interviews with local community members revealed that the distinctive animals were still present in the mountains.
- The rediscovery of the echidna is a result of a partnership between the University of Oxford, Indonesian NGO Yayasan Pelayanan Papua Nenda (YAPPENDA), Cenderawasih University (UNCEN), Papua BBKSDA, and the National Research and Innovation Agency of Indonesia (BRIN), Re:Wild.