The critically endangered white-bellied heron (Adrea insignis), for the first time, was caught on camera at Kamlang Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh.
The camera, however, was set in place for the All India Tiger Estimation, 2018.
The heron captured was an adult; captured in a series of camera trap photos on the bank of the Tawa at 12.20 pm on March 14 earlier this year.
It may be mentioned here that this is the first camera trap picture of the species and it was spotted by Zoological Survey of India at Namdhapa in 2014.
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As per data made available by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2018, there are less than 250 mature white-bellied herons globally. They are currently distributed in Bhutan, India and Myanmar. The IUCN has also reported the extinction of this species in Nepal.
Also known as the imperial heron, the white-bellied heron stands at 1.27-metre in height and is the world’s second-largest heron. The Goliath Heron is the largest.
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It may be mentioned here that in 2019, 25 critically endangered white-bellied herons were spotted in Bhutan.
The number has increased by one, suggesting that Bhutan is rich in biodiversity and its habitat intact.
A nationwide survey of the bird’s population was conducted from March 2 to March 6, 2019.
In the survey, 16 birds were found in Punatsangchhu basin, six in Mangdechhu and its tributaries, one in Kurichhu, and two in Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary.
“The presence of the species in such number is an indication that our biodiversity is rich and the habitat intact,” senior ecologist at the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN), Rebecca Pradhan said. “However, the species is globally rare by nature.”