Villagers in Western and Southern Thailand have learned there is a better way to earn money than poaching endangered hornbill chicks from nests to sell at markets – and that’s to put their efforts into hornbill conservation instead.

The Hornbill Research Foundation trains and employs local research assistants to collect biological and ecological data of six species nesting around the Budo Mountain area, which is part of the Budo-Sungai Padu National Park in Thailand.

Family groups of hornbill are monitored and information is collected about their nest locations, breeding success and types of food brought to the nest by the males to feed the broods. With this information scientists can paint an overall picture of the behaviour and ecology of the birds.
Colchester Zoo’s Action for the Wild charity has been supporting the Hornbill Research Foundation since 2002, and in June this year donated a further £333 towards this important project. Action for the Wild’s sponsored White-crowned Hornbill and Rhinoceros Hornbill families – both of which are endangered species – and the near threatened Great Hornbill family, all successfully produced a chick in the last breeding season.

The research project not only brings employment and awareness about conservation to the area, but is vital so that scientists can understand the conditions that hornbills need to successfully reproduce and survive in the future.

Article kindly written by ©Sarah Jones Beer

Find out more about the Hornbill Research Foundation and donate here.

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