Sighting brings hope for extinct New Zealand bird

Wellington, Nov 27 (IANS) A native New Zealand bird that was declared extinct in 2007 might still be alive, conservation groups said Wednesday. According to the Forest & Bird group, an apparent sighting of a South Island Kokako has been accepted by the New Zealand Ornithological Society's records appraisal committee, which monitors the status of rare and endangered birds, reports Xinhua.

fwire November 27, 2013 23:15:08 IST
Sighting brings hope for extinct New Zealand bird

Wellington, Nov 27 (IANS) A native New Zealand bird that was declared extinct in 2007 might still be alive, conservation groups said Wednesday.

According to the Forest & Bird group, an apparent sighting of a South Island Kokako has been accepted by the New Zealand Ornithological Society's records appraisal committee, which monitors the status of rare and endangered birds, reports Xinhua.

The sighting was made near the Reefton town in the same year the bird was declared extinct.

A total of 11 sightings of the South Island Kokako between 1990 and 2008 were submitted, but the committee considered the others to be "probable" or "possible" sightings.

An expert panel convened to manage the department of conservation-run New Zealand Threat Classification System earlier this month changed the South Island Kokako's classification from "extinct" to "data deficient" based on the 11 claimed sightings.

"We can't say that the South Island Kokako is still alive. But this is the best sign yet that it is," Forest & Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell said.

Hackwell said, "Because of the re-classification, there needs to be more pest control work in the South Island than ever before. If they are still out there, the birds will just be hanging on, and their biggest threats will be rats, stoats and possums."

New Zealand was thought to have lost more than 50 bird species, and if one of those extinctions turned out to be incorrect, "it would be incredibly good news," Hackwell added.

Before the Reefton sighting, the last accepted sighting of a South Island Kokako was in 1967.

The South Island Kokako is a dark bluish-grey wattlebird with a long tail, short wings and orange wattles on its face. The endangered North Island Kokako has blue wattles.

The bird is not particularly good at flying and prefers to use its powerful legs to leap and run through the forest, according to the department of conservation.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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