• 17 year old ranger Kimeal Simpson (L) with Shakira Biljabu (R) has snapped a rare photo of the elusive Night Parrot in Martu Country in Western Australia. ((Supplied: Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa))Source: (Supplied: Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa)
At just 17, Kimeal Simpson, was on her first foray with the team of Martu rangers in the remote desert of WA. Then she managed to capture a photo of one of the world's rarest birds.
Sarah Collard

24 Aug 2021 - 4:52 PM  UPDATED 24 Aug 2021 - 6:58 PM

The mysterious and elusive night parrot was thought to be extinct for more than 100 years before it was spotted three years ago — after unconfirmed and even falsified sightings. 

Now Martu rangers have managed to capture a photo of the rare bird.

Kimeal Simpson, 17, was on her first foray with the team of Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa rangers who had spent several days of surveying the remote country before she took the photo. 

Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa ranger Curtis Robinson said the group of rangers described the sighting of the bird as a special and emotional experience.

"It  was the first time I had seen  the night parrot. It made me so happy I cried, seeing one made everyone very happy," Mr Robinson told NITV News.  

"It was a blur of green and black feathers. He just flew right by us." 

But the young Martu teen had quick reflexes, and managed to snap one of the few recorded images ever taken of the bird. 

"She was excited. She was jumping around," he said.

Passing on the knowledge

The night parrot is one of the rarest birds in the world, and is respected in the Martu community.

They are working to protect the species and conserve its habitat.

The shy birds spend most waking hours nestled amongst the spiky spinifex grasses of the remote desert.

Ranger Clifton Girgiba said it was important the younger generations are brought up knowing how to care for Country. 

The rangers are working with scientists and conservationists to preserve the habitat and ensure the future of the bird for generations to come. 

"For us, it's important, our ancestors and our great-great-great grandfathers who walked this land for more than 60,000 thousand years," ranger Clifton Girgiba said.

Working with Elders and other rangers on Country has renewed the knowledge on the bird, lost in the cultural destruction of colonisation. 

"The Old People knew and the Elders had a name for it," Mr Girgiba told NITV News. 

"We'd never seen them... But the history that we know is so precious, our Dreamings and our stories."

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