Bird Assumed To Be Extinct Reappears After 140 Years


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Scientists rediscovered a long-lost black-naped pheasant-pigeon in September after it disappeared more than a century ago.

Footage of the rare bird was snapped by scientists after a month of searching throughout the forests of a tiny stretch of land off Papua New Guinea called Fergusson Island, according to a BBC report published Friday. The rediscovery took a comprehensive effort involving 20 camera traps, run-ins with pirates and countless interviews with locals.

The expedition’s co-leader, John Mittermeier, said that finding the bird was like “finding a unicorn,” the BBC continued. The team made previous attempts to locate the bird in 2019, but couldn’t find any trace of its existence. The most recent expedition included the researchers meeting with villagers on the western slopes of Mount Kilkerran, the highest peak on the small island.

“[There] we started meeting hunters who had seen and heard the pheasant-pigeon,” the expedition’s co-lead, Jason Gregg, told the BBC. A local told the search team that he’d heard the bird’s distinctive call in an area known for steep ridges and valleys, giving them their most significant lead.

In September, the bird casually strolled past one of the trail cameras, providing the team with the first sighting of the long-lost animal since 1882, the BBC noted. (RELATED: Wild Video Shows Man Going Full Hand-To-Hand Combat With A Bear)

The large terrestrial pigeon has been suspected of species decline for many years, largely due to habitat loss from logging and the move away from subsistence agriculture, according to Edge of Existence.