Conservation of Bornean hornbills in Malaysia

Ravinder Kaur

The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is a regenerating forest and the population of critically endangered helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil) and near threatened rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros) are declining based on monthly river surveys conducted by HUTAN. Being secondary hole-nesters, hornbills do not create tree cavities (Chuailua et al., 1998, Datta and Rawat, 2004, Poonswad et al., 2013b, Pasuwan et al., 2015). Hence, its population is limited by the availability of suitable tree cavities (Datta and Rawat, 2004, Poonswad et al., 2013b, Poonswad, 1993, Poonswad et al., 2013a), food plants and roosting sites (Poonswad et al., 1999). Because of its heavy casque, Helmeted Hornbills require a protruding cavity to use as its perch. It is also hunted for its “red ivory” in neighbouring countries. The loss of suitable natural cavities is a direct threat to the long-term survival of the hornbills. Hence, our purpose is to provide breeding opportunities for the hornbills. Tree cavities will be located using plots (systematic sampling) and then evaluated and restored accordingly (e.g soil added to raise a sunken cavity floor). In addition, artificial nest boxes will be tested, developed and installed to provide more breeding opportunities for the hornbills.