415

Western Long-beaked Echidna

Asia

415

Zaglossus bruijnii

Endangered

Considered as traditional food item
Destruction of habitat due to mining, logging, and agriculture
Vulnerable to hunting especially when trained dogs are used to locate its burrow

The western long-beaked echidna, considered as the world’s oldest existing egg-laying mammal, can only be found in New Guinea.

Although estimates put numbers at between 400-415, there’s no accurate data. What we do know is that there’s been an estimated 80% population drop in the last five decades.

This spiny anteater, like its platypus relative, is a monotreme – having a single opening for reproduction, urination, and defecation. The western long-beaked echidna is the largest of the last remaining five monotreme species.

The echidna populations started to dwindle as soon as locals adopted them as a primary food source. And with its burrows becoming more accessible due to mining and logging operations, they also become easy targets for hunters who use trained dogs.