Last Updated: November 19, 2022, 16:13 IST
Scientists have rediscovered the evidence of a rare bird black-naped pheasant-pigeon, which was last sighted almost 140 years ago. According to a report by the Independent, it was after a month of rigorous searching that a research team was able to capture footage of the rare species in the forest of a tiny island located in Papua New Guinea back in September. The journey wasn’t an easy one as it required the researchers to constantly interview locals and set more than 20 camera traps.
The co-lead of the expedition John Mittermeier compared the process to ‘finding a unicorn.’ Back in 2019, there were seemingly three attempts to find the large, ground-dwelling pigeon but the result did not come to fruition as the previous team did not find any trace of the rare species. Now, this year, a team of researchers reportedly reached the villages located on the western slope of Mount Kilkerran, where they began meeting hunters who had seen the pheasant pigeon.
Reportedly, one of the hunters offered the team a promising lead about an area lying with steep ridges and valleys where he claimed to have heard the bird’s distinctive voice. The researchers then set up cameras in the area and eventually succeeded to capture the bird just a few days before the team was about the leave the island. Jordan Boersma, a researcher from Cornell University said, “As I was scrolling through the photos, I was stunned by this photo of this bird walking right past our camera.” Notably, the images of the pheasant-pigeon that were captured are the first to be documented of the species since 1882.
“It is the kind of moment you dream about your entire life as a conservationist and birdwatcher,” said Mittermeier while expressing his feeling about the rediscovery. Although not much is known about the species, the researchers believe that their population on the island is estimated to be small and decreasing. However, the scientists hope that the information they’ve gathered during the expedition can prove to be helpful to protect whatever population is left of the rare species. They aim to find a way they could be saved from extinction.
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