SOURCE: Bangkok Post

DATE: September 28, 2019

SNIP: Thailand now has only 100 helmeted hornbills (Rhinoplax vigil), a protected species, due to illegal hunting, and urgent intervention is needed, the Wildlife Conservation Office (WCO) said yesterday.

The remaining birds are confined to three wildlife conservation areas, namely Budo-Sungai Padi National Park, Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary and Khlong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary, said Kanchana Nittaya, director of the WCO.

A recent round of surveys on the hornbill population found that although the bird has two nesting seasons, it successfully breeds only once a year now.

Helmeted hornbills are hunted for their babies and for their casques and ivory, according to Ms Kanchana.

Most recently, Traffic, a non-governmental organisation working globally to combat trade in wild animals and plants, found that the vast majority of wildlife products posted for sale on the internet were hornbill-related, she said.

During a six-month period from last October to April this year, a total of 546 ornamental objects made of hornbill ivory and casques were offered for sale in 32 out of the monitored 40 online trading groups, she said.

Up to 83% of these hornbill products were made of helmeted hornbill casques and ivory.