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BirdLife team find long lost bird

First curassow sighting for 36 years

Earlier this year, a team from Asociacion Armonía (BirdLife in Bolivia) saw one and heard three more Southern Helmeted Curassows Crax unicornis koepckeae in the Sira mountains of central Peru; the first time the distinctive endemic Peruvian race of this Endangered species has been seen since 1969.

An environmental awareness project, supported by the Nuttall Ornithological Club Charles Blake Fund Grant, has informed local people about their unique bird and T-shirts and school notebooks have been distributed that depict a curassow painting by Waldo Huaman along with the words "Cuidemos al Piuri porque está desapareciendo. Sólo vive en los cerros de El Sira - Peru. Nuestros hijos también quieren conocerlo." ["Protect Piuri (the curassow's local name) because it is disappearing. It only lives in Sira Mountains - Peru. Our children also want to know it."]

Local people reported hunting the curassow in the past, but there was genuine enthusiasm to protect their special bird now they appreciated its global significance. The team hopes to develop a long-term conservation project in the Sira mountains, to continue their awareness work, educate local people about sustainable use of natural resources, and contract a team of park guards, and will return to the area this October thanks to a grant from Sweden's Club 300.

4th July 2014