Return of the first fowl | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 19, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:12 AM, October 19, 2018

Nature Quest

Return of the first fowl

The red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus) has made a triumphant return to its old home in Lawachhara forest in Kamalganj Upazila of Moulvibazar.

The birds, which are the wild ancestors of domesticated chickens, are attracting many visitors to the forest.

The males especially, resplendent in their vibrant hues of golden-orange plummage with a dark metallic-green tail with a white tuft at the base, are quite the sight to behold.

Locals, wildlife researchers, and sources within the wildlife management and nature conservation department said the colourful birds can once again be seen on the manmade roads snaking through the forest floor, which speaks to their growing numbers. 

Saju Marchiang, a tourist guide at Lawachhara forest said he hardly saw the birds in the past 15-20 years ago. In fact, many believed that the species had disappeared from the area after the 1997 gas explosion in Magurcherra near the forest.

The explosion, and the subsequent fire, destroyed the bird's habitat and killed a number of them as well.

Over the years, as the forest began reclaiming what it had once lost, and the streams came alive with rushing water, the red jungle fowls began to return.    

Moulvibazar Divisional Forest Officer Abu Musa Shamsul Muhith Chowdhury said they had also beefed up security in the forest in order to check poaching.

The bird is considered a key biodiversity indicator; therefore its growing number can be used to gauge improvements in the forest's ecosystem.

However, a number of concerns remain. Increasing vehicular activity on the Srimangal-Bhanugach road and growing number of tourists can negatively affect the number of birds in the forest.

The bird can be found in Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor and Vietnam.

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