SWNS The Wondiwoi tree kangaroo was believed to have died out – until Michael Smith had photographed it in Indonesia
The Wondiwoi tree kangaroo was believed to have died out – until Michael Smith had photographed it in Indonesia
A British holidaymaker has baffled experts by apparently discovering a kangaroo that has been killing for 90 years during an expedition to the remote rainforests of Indonesia.
The Wondiwoi tree kangaroo is on the top 25 of the & # 39; most wanted & # 39; lost species and has evaded adventurers and zoologists since the first and only specimen found in 1928.
But it is now photographed for the first time in history by Michael Smith, 47, who was on a two-week expedition to find a new species of orchids in West Papua.
Together with a hired guide, interpreter and four porters, they turned their eyes on the elusive creature after spotting claw marks on trees.
Smith, from Farnham, Surrey, was amazed when he saw the characteristic teddy bear-like creature in the last 30 minutes of the last day of his trek, quietly above 30 meters above a tree.
He plans to apply for permits to enable him to bring back poo samples, which experts have already offered to DNA agreement with the 1928 skeleton that is currently housed in the London Natural History Museum.
SWNS The creature was spotted high in the treetops in West Papua
The creature was spotted high in the treetops in West Papua
Smith said, "He hid there and peeped at us.
"I felt relieved, and I began to think that I had to go back home to my long and wiser wife and explain why I had returned to the Wondiwoi Mountains and had found nothing.
"I was really running around, I could not get the picture completely, I thought calmly, this is really a very rare species, maybe it's the last one.
"I had to hold my hand and lean on something, but the thing I'm leaning against is covered with spines.
"But I also thought:" I would come home with lots of photos from a lot of leaves ".
"I thought to myself that I had to be careful here and not to fool myself, but I went through my mental checklist of their functions and realized," wait a minute, this must absolutely be the Wondiwoi tree kangaroo.
"I felt like Captain Ahab when he had photo's of Moby Dick."
Zoologist Tim Flannery, who has discovered four of the 15 living species of kanagaroo tree and who completed the definitive book Tree Kangaroos: A Curious Natural History & # 39; has written, said: "This is absolutely the Wondiwoi Tree-kangaroo. Everything on the photo is consistent with the only known copy.
"It is an exceptionally important find, the least known of tree rose and almost the most well-known macropodid, and it is amazing to see it in good numbers in 2018.
"I was surprised when I saw the photos.
"I had spoken with Ernst Mayr, the collector of the only previously known copy, but could not receive much additional information.
"I believe that it has been left untouched for so long because it is confined to a single, small mountain range."