The Wondiwoi Tree Kangaroo is said to be the top 25 “most wanted” lost species in the world list. Recently, Micheal Smith, 47, was able to photograph the beautiful animal.
The Wondiwoi has never been photographed before, and was last spotted in Indonesia in 1928.
On a two week expedition, Michael, was able to find a new species of orchids in west papua when he turned to find the long-lost Wondiwoi Tree Kangaroo after spotting claw marks on trees.
Michael was astonished and surprised when he spotted the teddy-bear-like creature on the last 30 minutes of the final day of his trek.
Experts had believed that the creature had gone extinct for years.
Michael, head of research and analytics at a medicalcommunications agency, said: “It was hiding there, peaking down at us, trying to hide.
“I felt relieved. I was starting to think I was going to have to go back home to my long suffering and much more sensible wife and explain why I had been back to the Wondiwoi mountains and not found anything.
“I was really rushing around. I couldn’t quite get the photo. I was thinking calm down, this is a really, really rare species, it might be the last one.
“I needed to steady my hand and lean on something, but the thing I’m leaning against is covered in spines.
“But I was also thinking ‘I could be coming home with a lot of photos of a lot of leaves’.
“I was thinking to myself I have to be careful here and not fool myself, but I went through my mental check list of their features and realised ‘hang on, this has absolutely got to be the Wondiwoi tree kangaroo.
“I felt like Captain Ahab if he had got photos of Moby Dick.”
Next year Michael plans to visit the rainforest with conservationists, experts and camera traps to find more.
He also plans to take permission to allow him to bring back poo samples, which experts have already offered to DNA match with the 1928 skeleton which is currently based in London’s Natural History Museum.