In a remote part of Indonesia called the Cyclops Mountains, scientists from Oxford University made an exciting discovery. After more than 60 years, they found a long-lost mammal known as Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna. This creature has features like the spines of a hedgehog, the snout of an anteater, and the feet of a mole. The team captured the first-ever photos of this elusive mammal using trail cameras during a four-week expedition.

Biologist James Kempton, part of the expedition, expressed the joy and relief of finding the creature on the last day of their trip. The echidna is a unique mammal belonging to a group called monotremes, which lay eggs and separated from the rest of the mammal family tree about 200 million years ago. This species was first scientifically recorded in 1961 by a Dutch botanist and is known to be shy, nocturnal, and challenging to locate. The team faced various challenges during their expedition, including an earthquake, malaria, and even a leech attached to an eyeball. The discovery holds cultural significance in the region, as the echidna is embedded in local traditions. The Yongsu Sapari elders mentioned a tradition where conflicts are resolved by sending one party into the forest to find the mammal and another to the ocean to find a marlin. Locals believe that once both creatures are found, it signifies the end of conflict and a return to harmonious relationships. This rare find sheds light on the importance of conservation efforts and the unique biodiversity found in the Cyclops Mountains of Indonesia.