Zoe Sottile, CNN
A bird thought to be extinct for 140 years has been rediscovered in the forests of Papua New Guinea.
The black-naped pheasant-pigeon\ was documented by scientists for the first and last time in 1882, according to a news release from nonprofit Re:wild, which helped fund the search effort.
Rediscovering the bird required an expedition team to spend a grueling month on Fergusson, a rugged island in the D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago off eastern Papua New Guinea where the bird was originally documented. The team consisted of local staff at the Papua New Guinea National Museum as well as international scientists from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the American Bird Conservancy.
Fergusson Island is covered in rugged, mountainous terrain – making the expedition especially challenging for the scientists. Many members of the community told the team that they hadn’t seen the black-naped pheasant-pigeon in decades, says the news release.
But just two days before the researchers were scheduled to leave the island, a camera trap captured footage of the exceptionally rare bird. “After a month of searching, seeing those first photos of the pheasant-pigeon felt like finding a unicorn,” John C. Mittermeier, director of the lost birds program at American Bird Conservancy and co-leader of the expedition, said in the release. “It is the kind of moment you dream about your entire life as a conservationist and birdwatcher.”….