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In search of Edwards’ Pheasant - Newcastle University

Genuinely extinct or just not worth looking for? Scientists set out to discover just how endangered certain species are.

Scientists are heading off in search of a rare species of bird which has not been seen for 17 years.

The research team, led by Newcastle University, are to search for Edwards’s Pheasant, a bird that was listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List in 2012.

First recorded in 1895, Edwards’ Pheasant is endemic to central Vietnam but excessive hunting and loss of habitat means it is now on the brink of extinction.

Or at least that is what scientists assume.  Now a team of experts from the universities of Newcastle and Bangkok have compiled data of all known sightings and recordings of this rare species of Galliform and have identified two locations where it may still exist in the wild.

Publishing their findings today in the academic journal Oryx, the team are now using this information to aid in the search for Edwards’ Pheasant to find out if it really is as endangered as scientists believe or if we just haven’t been looking for it in the right places.

“For well-known, easily-detectable species like the Bornean Orangutan or the Giant Otter we have good data which provides a sound basis for conservation,” explains lead author Dr Matthew Grainger, from Newcastle University. “But some species that are believed to have the highest probability of extinction are also amongst the most poorly known."

Access the paper: Grainger, M., Ngoprasert, D., McGowan, P., & Savini, T. (2017). Informing decisions on an extremely data poor species facing imminent extinction. Oryx, 1-7. doi:10.1017/S0030605317000813

 

New tale trail for South Walney Nature Reserve - Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Darwin, the little eider chick is a bit scared. Newly hatched on the shingle beach at South Walney Nature Reserve, his brothers and sisters rush off to explore, but he’d rather stay in the safety of the nest.  He doesn’t know what to make of the bigger animals surrounding him: “They make strange noises and some of them look frightening too, especially the black dinosaur bird on The Great Ocean.”

Pearl Douglas (aged five) inside the hide with the new Eiderling Tale (image: Cumbria Wildlife Trust)Pearl Douglas (aged five) inside the hide with the new Eiderling Tale (image: Cumbria Wildlife Trust)

Darwin is the diminutive hero of The Eiderling, an engaging new family story trail all about South Walney Nature Reserve. The easy-to-follow interactive trail is 5km long (including a short cut if little legs are getting tired!) It is available free of charge to all visitors at South Walney Nature Reserve.  Children visiting South Walney can now borrow a new Wildlife Watcher backpack too.

Amy and Iain Douglas from Newby Bridge visited South Walney Nature Reserve recently with their daughters Daisy, aged two and Pearl, five. The tale trail and Wildlife Watcher backpacks were a great hit with both youngsters, as Amy said: “Having the spotter sheet gave us the opportunity to put names to things we have seen before and also look out for things we haven't. The girls loved the tale trail and I really do think it’s great for keeping small ones entertained." 

  

Scientific Publications 

Sparling C, Lonergan M, McConnell B. Harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) around an operational tidal turbine in Strangford Narrows: no barrier effect but small changes in transit behaviour. Aquatic Conserv: Mar Freshw Ecosyst. 2017;1–11. doi: 10.1002/aqc.2790 

 

Noel D. Preece, et al A guide for ecologists: Detecting the role of disease in faunal declines and managing population recovery, Biological Conservation, Volume 214, October 2017, Pages 136-146, ISSN 0006-3207, doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.08.014.

 

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