Elusive Blind Critter Once Presumed Extinct Rediscovered

Cape Town: In a remarkable discovery, a blind mole presumed extinct since 1936, known as De Winton’s golden mole, has been found alive in South African sand dunes.

The breakthrough came through the use of environmental DNA (eDNA), a cutting-edge technique that collects skin cells shed by living creatures in their habitats.

The elusive golden mole has a nature of spending most of its life underground and relying on hearing for hunting.

The eDNA method involved collecting sand samples from the northwest coast of South Africa, the only known location of the mole.

By isolating and analyzing the environmental DNA in the lab, researchers confirmed the presence of De Winton’s golden mole by comparing it to a DNA sample maintained by a South African museum for decades.

The success of this approach holds promise for tracking and conserving other elusive species.

The findings offer an opportunity to enhance scientific understanding of the poorly studied mammal and reinvigorate conservation efforts.

The team has successfully trapped and photographed at least one specimen and plans to use the eDNA technique for further habitat mapping to safeguard the species from threats posed by residential developments and mining.

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