Hornbill Research Foundation
More than 1,300 bird species (about 1 bird in 8) are currently endangered in the wild because of the growth of farming, deforestation, hunting or the introduction of invasive species.
Hornbills – imposing birds with powerful beaks normally topped by a distinctive keratin casque – are no exception, with many African and Asian species declining in numbers.
Since the beginning of the 1980s, Mahidol University in Thailand has been carrying out eco-ethological research into the hornbills living in forests in the west and south of the country. In 1993, the Hornbill Research Foundation was set up with the following aims:
- to study the habitat and evaluate the status of hornbill populations in Thailand
- to study the biology and ecology of endangered species in the country’s reserves and national parks
- to organise national and international scientific seminars to spread and exchange information about these species
- to educate the public, especially young people, about plant and wildlife conservation.
The Foundation also offers its sponsors a unique partnership opportunity: each donor can adopt families of hornbills from the Budo-Sungai Padi National Park in the far south-west of Thailand.
Local villagers are given the task of observing hornbill couples on a daily basis to gather data on their biology and behaviour. In the breeding season, every occupied nest is closely observed so as to note the number of young being raised, the type of food consumed and the number of days before the chicks take flight. Analysis of this information increases scientific knowledge of and hence better conservation of each species. The money raised by adoptions is used to the pay the villagers observing the nests. Closely involved in the long-term conservation of hornbills, local communities contribute directly to their survival.
The Zoo de La Palmyre has supported the Foundation since 2005.
© Hornbill Research Foundation.