UK's last surviving New Guinea Singing Dog dies at Exmoor Zoo

Kota was the UK's last surviving New Guinea Singing Dog Credit: Exmoor Zoo

The UK's last surviving ancestral dog has died at a zoo in Devon.

Exmoor Zoo held and bred a pair of New Guinea Singing Dogs for more than 12 years, but both have now died.

Kota, the last of the breed in the UK, died just two weeks ago. His female partner Belle died four weeks earlier.

Kota had been in palliative care for the last two years, but with the loss of his partner staff at the zoo say his health rapidly deteriorated.

Both dogs were nearly 15 years old and had multiple age-related problems.

In tribute to the pair, Exmoor Zoo said: "They were lovely dogs imprinted on people since birth and fantastic ambassadors for the zoo and for their survival as the oldest and rarest.

The breed is now extinct in the UK Credit: Exmoor Zoo

"The zoo announced this after their passing due to the sadness involved with their departure.

"Currently we are talking to the Singing Dog Conservation Society in the USA but there are only six females capable of breeding in the USA at the moment (of which there is only 1 mature). No litters are planned until this summer."

The breed is the original ancestor of all domestic dogs in the Asian region. Their DNA has also proved them to be the ancestors of the Australian dingo.

Exmoor Zoo added: "We cannot definitively say if Belle and Kota will be replaced but we are trying to maintain a UK presence for this vitally important ancestral dog in the UK.

"For over 8 years our New Guinea Singing Dogs were the only Singing dogs in Europe. One of their sons is now exhibited at Zoo Zlín in the Czech Republic with his partner."