For the first time in over 60 years, an endangered egg-laying mammal has been spotted.

An expedition through an unpredictable, perilous mountain range in Indonesia's Papua province led to the rediscovery of a critically endangered egg-laying mammal that had not been seen in more than 60 years.

For Expedition Cyclops researchers, Attenborough's long-beaked echidna — a strange-looking, quill-covered creature with powerful digging feet — represents the biodiversity that can be rediscovered in Indonesia's Cyclops Mountains.

A 25-person crew faced malaria and earthquakes during a nine-week expedition, and one student researcher even had a leech stuck in their eye for 33 hours.

"Climbing those mountains I like to think of as climbing a ladder whose rungs are made of rotting wood, with rails cladded in spikes and thorns, and a frame shrouded by sunken vines and falling rocks," said James Kempton, the team's leader.

For years, the less than 90-square-mile mountain range has been subjected to illegal hunting. It is the only habitat for the critically endangered Attenborough's long-beaked echidna

which is listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.

Kempton's team set up over 30 camera traps to look for the echidna, suspecting it was nearby due to holes in the ground where the animal forages for worms. 

Kempton hopes that the findings will assist local partners in raising funds for research and conservation of the Cyclops Mountains.

According to Kempton, the Attenborough's long-beaked echidna is also one of five guardians of a highly unique and fragile evolutionary history dating back over 200 million years

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