Scientists Rediscover Rare Creature in South Africa After Over 80 Years
Researchers in South Africa have identified a rare creature, the golden mole of De Winton, thought to be extinct for more than 87 years, as reported by The Guardian. This animal, distinguished by its golden fur, was believed to have become extinct 87 years ago, but scientists have now found evidence of a living specimen in the wild.
Named for the oily secretions that coat its fur and give it a golden hue, this mole has a unique ability to "swim" through sandy dunes. Unlike regular moles, it doesn't create conventional tunnels, making it even more challenging to detect. The De Winton golden mole is entirely blind, relying solely on its highly sensitive hearing to detect movements above ground. It has been categorized among the "most wanted" species by the global conservation organization Re:wild.
The mole was discovered on the beach in Port Nolloth on the western coast of South Africa, marking the first sighting of this species since 1936. Initial traces of the creature were identified in 2021, and researchers have been engaged in a search and identification process since then. Scientists analysed DNA samples released by the animal during its movements, present in skin cells, fur, or feces. The research team covered up to 18 kilometres of dunes daily, collecting 100 sand samples.
Identifying the De Winton golden mole took almost a year, as initially, there was only one DNA sample, insufficient for accurate identification. However, a genetic sample of this species was later obtained from the Cape Town museum. Additionally, scientists found signs of other golden mole species on the coast, including the Cape golden mole and Grant's golden mole.
In a related development, The Gaze reported that in New Zealand, for the first time in 150 years, kiwi chicks have hatched in the wild. This occurred in the western suburbs of the capital city, Wellington, according to the non-governmental organization, The Capital Kiwi Project, focused on restoring the kiwi population. The organization's activists discovered two chicks while observing adult male kiwis incubating eggs. Initially expecting only one chick, researchers later found another.
The organization began working on kiwi population restoration in the wild just a year ago, releasing 63 birds on the outskirts of New Zealand's capital. This marked the first appearance of kiwi in this region in over a century.