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Ambassador report

Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] A Celebration of Birds

by Ashley Kho | 16-05-2019 17:46 Comments 6 Comments recommendations 2 recommendations

            On the 11th May 2019, Sarawak Eco-Warriors, the environmental group that I co-founded, organised ‘A Celebration of Birds’ event in conjunction with World Migratory Bird Day. The theme for 2019 was ‘Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution’ and highlights the dangers of plastic pollution to birds worldwide. Globally, a staggering 91% of plastic is not recycled but discarded as waste, choking landfills and birds. Birds tend to accidentally ingest plastic mistaking it for food and this has caused many of them to choke to death. In Kuching, we decided to celebrate hornbills, the emblem of our state, whilst at the same time raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution.

             The event began at 1 p.m. with a public talk entitled “Hornbills: Sarawak’s Pride” by Philovenny Pengiran, hornbill researcher at University of Malaysia, Sarawak (UNIMAS). As a hornbill researcher and a zoology graduate, she spoke about the different species of hornbills found in Malaysia, their mating seasons and diets. She also played several sound recordings of the different hornbill species to let us distinguish between the species. During her talk, Philovenny made us realise that hornbills are vital to the survival of our forests but are disappearing rapidly due to them being hunted for their purported medicinal values and their feathers.
Besides that, hornbills are slow to reproduce as they breed only once a year to raise one chick. As the mother and chick live in the nest for about five months after the chick hatches, the male is responsible to feed them. Unfortunately, if the male is killed by poachers, the rest of the family will likely starve to death. This has become one of the reasons why hornbills are being listed as an endangered species in Malaysia.
            After that, there was a video screening about hornbills. 3 videos were shown including ‘Call from Majestic Bird’, ‘Hunting the Helmeted Hornbill’ and ‘The Vanishing Bird’. All the videos focused on the dramatic increase in poaching hornbills for their casque, the bill of their hornbills. In certain cultures, the hornbills’ casque is a luxurious work of art and owning a beautifully decorated casque elevates social status. Given its unique look and colour, the hornbill casque can sell for around USD 1000. It is no wonder why so many are willing to kill hornbills for the amount of money they can get.
            It was very heart-breaking to see so many innocent hornbills being hunted senselessly for their casques. More than that, it motivated the audience to act against such things in the future. After the talk and video screening, there was a short Q&A session. Then, the audience was invited to fill out survey forms on what they thought of the event and actions they can do about the matter. One of the answers was to boycott all such animal products including hornbill casque, rhino horns and pangolins. When the public boycotts such products, there will not be a demand for it and when there is no demand, nobody would be tempted to hunt for these endangered species. Only then will they have a chance of survival.
             It may take years of law enforcement, research and monitoring and awareness efforts to remove hornbills from the endangered list. But let us not forget that every single bit counts towards the conservation of these animals.
 Picture Credits: Official photographers and Google Images


Hornbill casque Group photo of participants and committee Miss Philovenny giving a talk on hornbills


Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Hello Saba

    Thank you for your report about Hornbill.
    Thanks for the lovely photos and keep up with your great works. Congratulations !!!

    Green Cheers from Nepal :)
    Keep writing great reports.
    We are eager to read more reports from you.

    Kushal Naharki

    Posted 17-06-2019 05:40

Wonhee Mentor

  • Wonhee Mentor says :
    Hello Ashely

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience at “a celebration of birds” event. It is very disheartening to hear that hornbills are hunted for their casques. If it is difficult to stop poachers, starting a boycott not to buy any products from endangered animals would be another effective way to solve it. Thank you for your report and keep up the good work!

    Wonhee Mentor
    Posted 23-05-2019 20:38

Eco Generation

  • Eco Generation says :
    Greetings Ashley,

    I think that not many people are aware of the World Migratory Bird Day.
    It seems like your ‘A Celebration of Birds?? event was a success.
    Boycotting these products will surely decrease the demand in them and ultimately lead to hunters to stop catching them.
    Thank you for sharing with us about this and keep up the good job.

    Eco Generation
    Posted 23-05-2019 10:19

Louis Mentor

  • Louis Mentor says :
    Hi Ashley,

    Thank you for your report about one of our endangered species - Hornbill and also thank your group for organizing such a great event! I am also aware of the fact that plastic pollution does have tremendous influence on birds extinction and we should definitely care about plastic pollution as well as birds protection. Please there is any other events like this in the future, please share with us as well! :) Keep up the good work!

    Louis Mentor
    Posted 20-05-2019 23:11

Asmita Gaire

  • Asmita Gaire says :
    Hello ashley
    The way you took plastic pollution subject along with birds protection. It's highly appreciable.
    Thank you so much for this wonderful report.
    Green cheers!
    Posted 17-05-2019 16:03

Himani Chand

  • Himani Chand says :
    Thank you so much for your report about Hornbill.
    And your organization/ event seems to be really interesting.
    Hope I can learn even more about it, especially programs it does to escalate the knowledge.
    Posted 17-05-2019 10:21

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