Rediscovery of Rare Golden Mole Shocks Scientists
CAPE TOWN, South Africa – In a stunning turn of events, researchers in South Africa have made an astonishing rediscovery. The De Winton's golden mole, a species thought to be extinct for over 80 years, has been spotted alive and well on a beach in Port Nolloth. This small, blind burrowing creature with a shimmering golden coat was thought to be lost to science since 1936. The finding has sent shockwaves through the scientific community.
Researchers from the Endangered Wildlife Trust and the University of Pretoria embarked on a mission to search for this elusive mole. With the help of a sniffer dog, they found traces of tunnels and finally came face to face with the rare De Winton's golden mole in 2021. However, their work was not done.
Due to the fact that there are 21 species of golden moles, some of which look very similar, the team needed conclusive evidence to confirm their discovery. Environmental DNA samples were taken from the area to compare with a DNA sample from a De Winton's golden mole that had been collected decades ago. The DNA sequences were a match, confirming that the elusive creature had indeed been found.
Esther Matthew, senior field officer with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, described the project as both exciting and challenging. The team had to survey up to 18 kilometers of dune habitat in a single day. Despite the difficulties, their perseverance paid off, and two De Winton's golden moles have now been confirmed and photographed in Port Nolloth.
The rediscovery of the De Winton's golden mole is part of a larger trend of once-lost species being found again. The Re:wild conservation group has compiled a "most wanted lost species" list, which includes creatures such as a salamander found in Guatemala in 2017, and an elephant shrew seen in Djibouti in 2019.
This remarkable rediscovery serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of conservation efforts. It is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of these creatures, as well as the dedication and hard work of researchers. As we continue to explore and study the natural world, who knows what other hidden treasures we may uncover?