​The Hewitt Photo


​The Hewitt Photo
In 2012, Tom Hewitt, Director of Adventure Alternative Borneo, was leading a private expedition in the remote Star Mountains of New Guinea. 

While stopped to camp during the return trek, Hewitt and his client were exploring the valley and surrounding area when they spotted something unexpected.

“The client and I had gone around some big boulders in the valley on the 'trail' and the guide and cook had stopped, which was unusual for them. The guide exclaimed 'dog' and he had to repeat it three times and point before we understood,” recalls Hewitt. “[the dog] was not scared, but seemed [as] genuinely curious [of us] as we were of it, and it certainly felt like a rare meeting for both sides. The guides and cook were also surprised.”
​Tom Hewitt, Director, Adventure Alternative Borneo
Curious, but not realizing how important the image was, Hewitt returned home and contacted an NGSD group for confirmation.   The photo was widely circulated among experts and generated much discussion and debate. 

As you can see, the photo was taken at a great distance and only a portion of the dog is visible.  While similar to an NGSD or HWD at first glance, some felt the dog had more domestic features or bore Village  Dog traits.  The location where the photo was taken was used as a strong argument for authentication; given that it takes ten days of hiking in arduous cloud forest terrain at high altitude, how could there be any canine present in the area ​but a Highland Wild Dog?

It's a reasonable conclusion, but, in fact, there are remote villages as well as nomadic peoples in the region living and traveling with Village Dogs.
​Photo of dog taken by Hewitt in 2012
Without genetic proof in the form of a DNA sample analysis, there simply isn't any way to confirm that the dog Hewitt photographed that day was an HWD.  Even now that there is concrete proof that HWDs are still living in the high altitude cloud forests of New Guinea, it still can't be assumed that the dog in the photo is an HWD.  Many still feel the head structure of the dog is more congruent with a Village Dog.  Regardless, the image is intriguing and led to Tom Hewitt joining forces with NGHWDF Founder, Mac McIntyre, to conduct the 2016 expedition that led to the discovery of HWDs living high on Puncak Jaya. 
​Scientific American Article about the Photo
​Scientific American Interview with McIntyre about the Photo

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Mac and Tom in the Village of Banti, Papua Province, New Guinea, 2016

The 2016 Expedition

NGHWDF Founder, Mac McIntyre, would like to personally thank Tom Hewitt, Director of Adventure Alternative Borneo, for providing inspiration for the trip as well as his invaluable services as guide and logistics coordinator for the 2016 Expedition.