by Hans Nicholas Jong on 28 November 2017
The Indonesian government is currently drafting a 10-year master plan to protect the endangered helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil), set to be launched in 2018.
The program will comprise five action plans: research and monitoring; policies and law enforcement; partnerships; raising public awareness; and funding.
The helmeted hornbill has been driven to the brink of extinction by poaching for its distinctive scarlet casqued beak, which is pound-for-pound three times as valuable as elephant ivory.
The Indonesian government will next year launch a 10-year program to save the critically endangered helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil), a bird driven to the verge of extinction because of poaching for its distinctive casqued beak.
The new strategy, to run from 2018 to 2028, comprises five action plans — research and monitoring; policies and law enforcement; partnerships; raising public awareness; and funding — and follows from last year’s forum of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“If we have a clear action plan, hopefully our next generation will not suffer the loss of the helmeted hornbill, like the Javan tiger and the Bali tiger in the past,” Bambang Dahono Adji, director for biodiversity conservation at the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said at a meeting in Jakarta last week to discuss the action plans.
The helmeted hornbill, one of Southeast Asia’s most unique large bird species, is confined to pockets of forest in Borneo and the Malay Peninsula. The bird has been hunted close to extinction for its casque, which is prized in China for use as ornamental carvings and can fetch $4,000 per kilogram — three times more than elephant ivory.
Forest degradation, extremely low rates of reproduction and a lack of conservation efforts have piled further pressure on the species, resulting in the downgrading in 2015 of the helmeted hornbill’s conservation status by three categories, from “Near Threatened” to “Critically Endangered.”