British Tourist Captures Photo Of Rare Tree Kangaroo Thought To Be Extinct
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rare species that has only been spotted once in the past 90 years has been photographed by British tourist.
The incredible photos showing that it is still out there were captured by Michael Smith, a 47-year-old tourist from Farnham who was on holiday in West Papua, Indonesia.
This cute little guy was last seen in 1928 and has never been photographed before. That's one hell of a souvenir for Mr Smith to take back to Surrey with him.
Smith was on a two week expedition in the area attempting to find a new species of orchid, but instead, he discovered something that is arguably even more significant.
They started to realise that the creature might be in the area when they spotted claw marks in some trees, they were still amazed when they spotted the little creature sitting up in a tree.
It almost didn't happen at all. The animal was finally spotted in the last half an hour of the final day of their trek. Any later and it would still have remained a mystery. It was sat in the canopy about 30 metres above their head, which was just close enough to allow them to get a shot of it.
Many wildlife experts believed that the whole species was extinct. Just goes to show, experts aren't always right.
Michael, who works in his day job as the head of research and analytics for a medical communications agency - which sound less exciting than being a rogue species investigator - said: "It was hiding there, peeking down at us, trying to hide.
"I felt relieved. I was starting to think I was going to have to go back home to my long suffering and much more sensible wife and explain why I had been back to the Wondiwoi mountains and not found anything.
"I was really rushing around. I couldn't quite get the photo. I was thinking calm down, this is a really, really rare species, it might be the last one."
He continued: "I needed to steady my hand and lean on something, but the thing I'm leaning against is covered in spines.
"But I was also thinking 'I could be coming home with a lot of photos of a lot of leaves'.
"I was thinking to myself I have to be careful here and not fool myself, but I went through my mental check list of their features and realised 'hang on, this has absolutely got to be the Wondiwoi tree kangaroo.
"I felt like Captain Ahab if he had got photos of Moby Dick."
It's not over, Michael intends to come back next year to try to set up camera traps and investigate further. He's even going to apply to bring some tree kangaroo poo back to the UK for study.
Good luck with that one, mate.