Images of an extremely rare, giant rat in the Solomon Islands have been captured for the first time – and after years of failed attempts, scientists .

Hidden cameras caught four Vangunu rats – a rodent that can grow up to 45cm long – roaming in a forest on an island in the archipelago north-west of Australia.

The rodents were identified without a doubt as Vangunu giant rats (Uromys vika) due to their large size, long tail and very short ears, according to a study published Nov. 20 in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

“The recording of the giant Wagkun’s rat for the first time is an extremely positive development for this little-known species,” study leader Tyrone Lavery, a lecturer in endemic vertebrate biology at the University of Melbourne, said in a statement.

According to Professor Lavery, this development comes at an extremely critical juncture, as the Vangunu rat species may soon become extinct due to commercial logging that has decimated most of the island’s forest.