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Pheasants, Thought Extinct, Caught In Vietnam Forest

A bird species not captured in the wild in nearly 70 years has been found in Vietnam, wildlife scientists said Tuesday.

Two Edwards pheasants were taken alive by villagers in the Bach Ma National Park several days ago, according to Washington-based World Wildlife Fund officials who spoke with David Hulse, the fund’s director in Vietnam.

Spokesman Lee Poston said one of the birds subsequently died. He said it was the first time wild Edwards pheasants had been found and captured in the wild since 1928, although there were recorded sightings in 1985. In recent years, the species was thought to be extinct in the wild, although about 500 are kept in zoos in the West.

Hulse was quoted as saying the discovery of the bird in Vietnam offers a second chance to save the “exquisite bird and its habitat.” Officials said the bird inhabits very wet forest that has been threatened by logging and defoliant sprayed during the Vietnam War but is now protected with extensive reforestation programs under way.

Poston said scientific experiments conducted in 1988 and 1994 in Vietnam had failed to turn up any evidence of the bird.

Tags: rare