Wildlife Enthusiasts Spending $1 Million to Find Region 8's Elusive Ivory-Billed Woodpecker - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Little Rock, AR

Wildlife Enthusiasts Spending $1 Million to Find Region 8's Elusive Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

MAY 7, 2005 - Posted at 6:51 p.m. CDT

 

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The story of how bird-watchers found in eastern Arkansas swamps a bird thought extinct has many elements of a spy novel...a house purchased quietly, for the use of visitors to an area where outsiders are noticed...two other houses rented in another nearby community, so there won't be a jump in motel receipts...and a million dollars spent through private channels.

The object of all that undercover work was, as it turned out, indeed to be found where he was being sought.  The presence of the ivory-billed woodpecker in the Big Woods area of the Cache River bottomlands of eastern Arkansas was confirmed last month.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported today that conservationists and ornithologists were bankrolled to the tune of $1 million from private donors for their year-long search for the elusive bird.

Eventually, the search involved more than 100 people who put in 20,000 hours along the Cache and White rivers.  Participants in the search were required to sign confidentiality agreements.  The Nature Conservance bought a house at Cotton Plant and rented two others in Woodruff County, so an unusual number of out-of-state visitors staying at area motels wouldn't start rumors.

The result was 16 brief sightings, and a videotape.

The birdhunters say all the money and time was worth it.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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