'If you turned around and saw a pink-headed duck it would be like seeing... Elvis Presley'
By Kent and Sussex Courier | Posted: January 16, 2015
By Sarah Ward firstname.lastname@example.org
A BIRDWATCHER from Crowborough will embark on his fifth trip to Burma this week in memory of a friend who shared his dream of finding a bird believed to be extinct since the 1960s.
Richard Thorn, 51, who visited the country last January on his quest to find a pink-headed duck deemed "probably extinct", will leave on Friday to continue his search which began 16 years ago.
He will visit the town of Shwegu, in Burma's Kachin State in memory of his friend Tony Htin Hla, chairman of The Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association, who believed the ducks may still be living in lakes bordering the town before his death from liver cancer.
Mr Thorn, an ambulance care assistant, said: "Last time I went was about one year ago – the area we went to had never been surveyed before because it was so remote.
"My theory is if you have one wetland that somebody says they saw a pink-headed duck, if you look there and don't find it, it doesn't mean it is extinct.
"Let's say it is not there, for safety reasons it could have relocated but it is a totally different thing – it means everyone is looking in the wrong place."
Mr Thorn first started his quest when working at Hoopers department store in Tunbridge Wells.
He visited Tunbridge Wells library on a lunch break and picked up a book, which described the fabled bird.
Since then he has spent more than £10,000 on his dream – and said it is worth every penny.