Thursday, 20 May 2021

Save the helmeted hornbill


Head hunted

A beautiful scenic village, a dancing girl, a religious symbol, a face.

Those are just a few examples of the many things carved into the headgear of the mercilessly hunted helmeted hornbill.

These brilliant birds - while alive - spend their time in show-stopping flurries of hysterical laughter and displaying their strikingly weird and dazzlingly unique features - including a helmet used for aerial jousting battles.

But the resurgence of an old, grim fashion has seen people paying small fortunes to have that helmet ripped from the bird’s body, carved into some gruesome ornament and paraded on their mantlepiece.

And the resurgence in hunting is on an unprecedented commercial scale. These birds are being torn from the forest in unprecedented numbers.

This nauseating trend is slicing its way through their population and is sending it spiralling into one of the fastest declines of any species.

This self-indulgent fad for ‘flying ivory’ is nothing short of devastating.

These birds are imperative for the forest’s survival - performing an invaluable role as seed dispersers as they carry large quantities of figs and other fruit across their territory. The fate of these pristine and flourishing forests is directly linked to the fate of the hornbills.

But it gets worse.

Hornbills are not just hunted by opportunists hoping to make a quick profit. They are targeted by organised criminal networks, which makes their battle for survival even harder and our job distinctly tougher.

We have to end this.

Through your donations, we’re working to support undercover operations that are countering the actions of illegal traders, and helping improve law enforcement.

We are at a crucial turning point for these creatures and we cannot afford to stop. We must continue to protect these stunning forests from poaching and provide these birds with the sanctuary they deserve.


Please help save helmeted hornbills. If everyone reading this donates just £3, you could help protect their homes from organised criminal groups and keep their helmets firmly on their head and out of the illegal trade. Thank you.

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