About the episode
Until last week, the only known specimen was sitting in a drawer at Naturalis in the Netherlands, but now there’s a moving image of the animal in the wild: Sir David Attenborough’s long-billed echidna appears not to have gone extinct. .
A team of scientists from Oxford had been searching the forests of Papua for some time for the animal, which had not been seen since 1961. Over the years, some root marks were found that matched in shape to the animal’s beak. Hours and hours of wildlife camera footage were captured in hopes of seeing the animal.
On the last day of the trip, when they had taken the last camera and were viewing the last SD card, they saw him walking beside them.
Three other species of egg-laying mammals have the spines of a hedgehog and the snout of an anteater, each with a slightly different snout length, but they live in very different places from where this animal was seen.
The areas of the forest in which they made the final discovery are difficult to access, and crossing them was not without danger and broken bones, but it led to this special discovery and an impressive list of previously undiscovered creatures.
According to the researchers, this shows how important it is to protect this area. This is something that must be done in close consultation with and respect for the local people, partly because these mountains are considered sacred ground to them.
Read more about the discovery here: The furry hedgehog is not the last of its kind, after all
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