SOLOMON ISLANDS - Saying it was “like finding a Unicorn,” director of Pacific Programs at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Chris Filardi, couldn’t stop smiling.
Filardi was describing the Guadalcanal moustached kingfisher, a bird he had been searching for more than 20-years. Filardi told Rachel Gross from Slate magazine, “when I came upon the netted bird in the cool shadowy light of the forest I gasped aloud, ‘Oh my god, the kingfisher.’”
His mind quickly focused, and he realized, ”one of the most poorly known birds in the world was there, in front of me, like a creature of myth come to life.” The team celebrated by taking pictures and recording the male’s calls.
Then they killed it.
Saying they wanted the animal for a “scientific specimen,” Filardi claims his research shows the birds are common enough to be a food source in the Solomon Islands.
Filardi used his blog to explain, “there is also a deeper reasoning here.” He went on to explain, “the value of good bio diversity collections lies partly in the unforeseeable benefits of those collections to future generations: Detection and understanding of the impacts of marine pollutants, eggshell thinning from DDT, and anthropogenic body size shifts in widespread species are examples of the power of natural history collections.”
Others, including University of Colorado ecology Professor Marc Bekoff disagree. “Killing ‘in the name of conservation’ or ‘in the name of education’ or ‘in the name of whatever’ simply needs to stop.” He wrote in the Huffington Post. “It is wrong and sets a horrific precedent for future research and for children.”