(Mirror Daily, United States) – The scientific community isn’t too friendly towards the practice of removing animals from their natural habitat for the sake of research, but Christopher Filardi did it anyway.
According to a recent report, the American Museum of Natural History researcher has been the fortunate discoverer of a rare moustached kingfisher, a bird species that last made an apparition more than 20 years ago. Controversy sparked when Filardi killed it for research purposes.
Filardi’s deed wasn’t driven by lack of knowledge, as he has dedicated his entire career to researching birds, especially those endangered and specialized that rarely show their feathers to human observers.
He knows that “they are ghosts, until they reveal themselves in a thrilling moment of clarity and then they are gone again. Maybe for another day, maybe a year, maybe a century.” That moment happened for Filardi during his trips to the remote mountains of the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.
Back in the 1920s, a female bird of moustached kingfisher was first discovered, and they managed to stay hidden until the 50s, when local hunters captured two more females that researchers could study.
The habits, calls and behaviors of the little bird remain fairly unknown, and researchers were eager to spot and research the male specimen of the species. Ever since the last sightings in the 50s, however, hope has dwindled that another would be seen, until Filardi’s rare encounter.
After carefully setting up nets in the forest canopy, Filardi was able to capture a stunning male specimen with a blue back and an orange face. Upon exclaiming in wonder at his discovery, the researcher promptly proceeded to kill, or “collect” the little bird.
When the story of the moustached kingfisher was published, the readers were outraged to see that practices similar to trophy hunting were taking place in the name of science. Scientists agreed that killing the bird was uncalled for, as was Filardi’s attempt to argue its necessity.
Mark Bekoff, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, wrote an op-ed piece in the Huffington Post publicly denouncing the killing of wild creatures for conservation research purposes.
However, the Audubon Society deemed the killing of the bird was not threatening to the population as a whole. Filardi maintains his argument, saying that killing the bird would provide scientists with vital facts about its anatomy, which could lead to a greater understanding of how the bird can be conserved in its wild habitat.
Image Source: Glen Chilton