The mystery of the 'Amazon dog ghost' is first solved

One of the most mysterious animals of the Amazon jungle has finally been photographed, opening many research directions for them to scientists.

According to the New York Times, hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest has mammals extremely mysterious and difficult to detect. Experts call it shyness, or even compare them to ghosts.

But that is only a type of dog.

The short-eared dog is the only species of the genus Atelocynus, and they exist only in the rainforests of the Amazon region. In a study published last month in the journal Royal Society Open Science, 50 researchers initially gathered valuable information about the object, by analyzing data taken from a network. Vast photo traps.

Picture 1 of The mystery of the 'Amazon dog ghost' is first solved
Traps of Mr. Rocha and his colleagues captured the image of a short-eared dog in the Amazon forest. (Photo: Daniel Rocha / New York Times).

By mapping the range of species distribution, as well as identifying their preferred habitat, scientists hope to protect them from extinction.

Daniel Rocha, a graduate student at the University of California Davis, lead author of the study, became interested in the mysterious animal in 2015 while working in the southern Amazon region. Rocha and his colleagues set camera traps to study local mammals.

When looking through the data collected, the dogs appeared with short ears and furrowed eyebrows, as if they were surprised to be photographed.

Mr. Rocha was also surprised at the images. Many local people, who often go to the forest, also say they rarely see them, and think they are rare animals. Rocha himself, who spent many years studying this species, had never seen any individual in the forest.

Carlos Peres, a professor of ecology at East Anglie University, who contributed to the research, has been exploring the Amazon for the past 40 years. The longest time he saw a short-eared dog lasted only about 20 seconds, when an individual was chasing a mouse.

"They are extremely secretive , " said Peres.

Many species of dog genus, from wolves to African wild dogs, prefer to hunt in groups and prefer open habitats, such as tundra or prairie.

Dr. Peres said the short-eared dogs in the Amazon are mostly alone and are the best dogs to adapt to the rainforest. They feel comfortable wandering in the forest, away from places where people are active.

As a result, they become one of the least studied dog species globally, according to Rocha. We do not know much about their evolutionary history, reproductive habits, or even how many individuals exist. We don't know what they eat either.

Rocha's research found that the mysterious dog was seen in five countries in the Amazon, and it also seems to be concentrated in the western Andes. They are threatened by deforestation in the Amazon. Their habitat could decline by 30% by 2027 if deforestation rates continue as they are today.

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