When it comes to endangered species in Malaysia, we would think of the Malayan tiger, the Pygmy elephant and the Malayan Tapir. But unfortunately, poachers are hunting these beautiful animals down for their own gain, and this includes the very rare species of hornbills that is about to go extinct real fast!
Rare species of Hornbill is killed for its ‘crown’
The critically endangered Helmeted Hornbill is hunted down for its prized red crown, or casque, which is made of keratin similar to rhino horns and fingernails. Unlike other hornbill species which has a hollow casque, the red casque of this hornbill is solid and is used to carve out decorative ornaments.
Source: Fauna & Flora International
Deemed as “red ivory”, it is sold three to five times more expensive than elephant ivory in the black market. According to The Star, in the hands of a Chinese master craftsmen, a small carving can fetch anything between US$2,000 (RM8,420) and US$10,000 (RM42,100) a piece!
Source: All About Birds
These elusive hornbills are only found in the pristine tropical rainforests of Borneo, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia and southern Thailand. Once, these places were populated with hornbills, but due to undiscovered poaching activities, their numbers have plummeted.
Poachers moved into Malaysia to KILL these highly sought after birds
Source: The Star
The demand among China’s rich for red ivory accessories and ornaments caused syndicates to raise the price of these casques in order to entice more locals to hunt down the species in the country. After a clampdown on illegal poaching activities in Indonesia, the hunt for these majestic birds further intensified in Malaysia.
“With Indonesian wildlife authorities intensifying their enforcement activities at key airports from Kalimantan – Pontianak Supadio airport and Balikpapan Sepinggan airport – in recent months, it has forced these syndicates to turn to Malaysia, ” reported The Star.
“Wildlife syndicates are using human couriers to smuggle the casques across the Kalimantan-Sarawak border and ship these red ivories through Kuching airport.”
Source: Yahoo News
The director-general of the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan), Abdul Kadir Abu Hassan, said they were monitoring such poaching activities in the jungle through Ops Belang, a special 24-hour monitoring operation on tiger habitats or “hotspots” in Malaysia to battle all forms of poaching activities of all protected animals.
“We are also working with airport and port authorities, through intelligence sharing, training and other joint operations, to curb the smuggling activities, including Helmeted Hornbills, at airports,” he said.
Abdul Kadir said anyone with information on Helmeted Hornbill poaching should contact their headquarters or state offices immediately and action would be taken.
No animal species deserve to be hunted down to extinction just to fulfill the wants of the rich few. Let us all help to preserve the dwindling numbers of the Helmeted Hornbill before they are wiped off from the face of the earth. Share this article to increase the awareness as well!
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