Critically endangered forest owlet (Athene blewitti) was sighted in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh. The bird was traced in a new location by a Pune-based conservation society in second week of January 2015.
Forest Owlet (Athene blewitti or Heteroglaux blewitti) is an owl and is endemic to the forests of central India. The species that belongs to the typical owls’ family, Strigidae is on the verge of extinction.
How this critically endangered species was spotted?
A team of a Pune-based Wildlife Research and Conservation Society (WRCS) sighted the owlet during their course of extensive research in Khandwa in the adjoining district of Betul. At present, the society is carrying out a long-term ecological study on the Forest Owlet in the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh.
Past Evidences of Forest Owlet in India
The species was first discovered in 1872 (Chhattisgarh), however it was not seen for 113 years and was believed that it has become extinct.
It was rediscovered in 1997 in Toranmal Reserve Forest in the Satpura ranges and was once again sighted in 2004 in Toranmal of Nandurbar district of Maharashtra.
The most recent evidence of the bird happened in October 2014 in the Tansa wildlife sanctuary of Western Ghats. It was spotted by naturalist Sunil Laad of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).