The sighting of the critically endangered Jerdon’s Courser, a ground bird found in scrub jungles, after many years has come as "major boost" to the conservation efforts of wildlife activists and environmentalists, to save the species.

Two Jerdon’s Coursers were spotted by BNHS scientist Rahul Chavan and his local assistant Rahim in the core area of Sri Lankamalleswara Wildlife Sanctuary in Cuddapah district of Andhra Pradesh on the morning of August 6, 2009.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden at Hyderabad, Hitesh Malhotra said, "This excellent news is very reassuring. We all need to increase efforts for the protection of Jerdon’s Courser with renewed vigour."

The sight of this rare nocturnal bird has come as a major boost to the conservation efforts for this near-extinct species, according to BNHS.

"It is a big boost to our conservation efforts, particularly to add some land to the Sanctuary, which the proponent of the Telugu Ganga Canal had promised," BNHS Director, Asad Rahmani said.

BNHS has been conducting field research on Jerdon’s Courser for the past years to help conserve the species, in collaboration with UK-based Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Andhra Pradesh Forest Department, University of Cambridge and University of Reading, funded by the Darwin Initiative.

P Jeganathan of Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, who is a part of the Jerdon’s Courser Project, said that the recent sighting indicates that these rare birds exist in the area and further efforts are required to locate them in more places.

RSPB's International Officer for India Ian Barber said, "Jerdon's Courser is clearly a bird on the edge of existence. Although there is a great deal of international co-operation to prevent this bird's global extinction there are many pressures, especially habitat loss that could force the Courser into oblivion."

The ongoing research work of BNHS and RSPB in Andhra Pradesh aims to gather more information about its ecology, breeding habits, distribution and habitat use.

The survey is in progress in different areas in and around Sri Lankamalleswara Sanctuary. Automatic camera traps are being used to get photographs of this elusive bird and track strips which retain the foot prints, mainly to detect its presence, a BNHS release said.

Keywords: Jerdon's CourserBNHSRSPB