- A striking bird with monochrome plumage and a formidable “beak”, the helmeted hornbill is being hunted to extinction, one of the latest victims of a thriving global trade in exotic wildlife.
- For decades poachers in Borneo’s western forests focused on capturing orangutans and sun bears, but in the past few years a surge in demand for hornbill “ivory” has pushed the avian species to the brink.
- The product has become so popular in China, where wealthy collectors are keen to show off their status by acquiring rare or unusual animals, that it is fetching up to five times the price of elephant tusk on the black market.
- By the close of 2015, the species had progressed from vulnerable to critically endangered – leapfrogging two threat levels to the highest possible risk category on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “red list”.
Source: The Hindu