‘Zaglossus Attenboroughi’, a long-beaked echidna has only been documented once before and there were fears it had gone extinct.
But a month-long expedition in the Cyclops Mountains – a rugged rainforest habitat 2,000m (6,561ft) above sea level – in Papua, Indonesia by Oxford University researchers has produced four three-second clips of the rare, egg-laying mammal named after Sir David.
Rare long-beaked echidna named after Sir David Attenborough re-discovered in Papua
The expedition team had to contend with near-vertical jungle terrain, leeches, malaria and a broken arm, all in pursuit of spotting what has been described by the Zoological Society of London as the most important species in the world for conservation purposes, reported The Times.
But it was all worth it to catch a glimpse of the rare and endangered long-beaked echidna – Zaglossus Attenboroughi.
First ever images prove ‘lost echidna’, ancient mammal named after David Attenborough, not extinct https://t.co/KxU7mAdLd8
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) November 10, 2023
Dr James Kempton, who headed up the expedition team, told BBC News the moment they saw the footage they had recorded of the long-beaked echidna they were “euphoric”.
Speaking to BBC News, he said: “I was euphoric, the whole team was euphoric.
“I’m not joking when I say it came down to the very last SD card that we looked at, from the very last camera that we collected, on the very last day of our expedition.”
In addition to finding Sir David‘s long-beaked echidna, the expedition also discovered new species of insects and frogs.
They also observed healthy populations of tree kangaroos.
Echidnas are the only mammals that lay eggs, aside from the duck-billed platypus.
They are thought to have first emerged more than 200 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, according to the BBC.