published on 2 March 2021 in life

Bird thought to be extinct sighted in Borneo

A Black-browed Babbler (Malacocincla perspicillata), a bird of the Passeriformes order not seen since 1848, has been spotted in a forest in Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo in South-East Asia. The news of the rediscovery of the babbler was published in the Oriental Bird Club’s journal BirdingASIA and was then publicised by Global wildlife conservation, a non-governmental organisation involved in nature conservation.

Credits: Muhammad Suranto and Muhammad Rizky Fauzan, downloaded from globalwildlife.org

The bird was spotted in October 2020 by Muhammad Suranto and Muhammad Rizky Fauzan, two locals who accidentally caught the babbler. Not recognising what kind of bird it was, they photographed it and, after releasing it, sent the photographs to a local birdwatching group. The images were then submitted to Indonesian ornithologist Panji Gusti Akbar, who identified the species and described the rediscovery as “breathtaking”.

Confirmation came after ornithologists examined photographs taken by two locals in October. Of course, this news raises great hope for scientists, because it shows that there is still time to save such a precious bird as the babbler, which is threatened by deforestation and drought, often the cause of devastating fires. Moreover, “discoveries like these are incredible and make us believe that it is possible to track down other species considered by scientists to have been lost for decades or more,” says Barney Long, of Global Wildlife Conservation. All this shows that nature is more resilient than we think, and that we must never give up in the battle for its preservation.

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