In the first days of August, the female Palawan hornbill led three chicks out of the nesting box. Zoo Wrocław is the only zoological garden in the world where these endangered birds breed. Now, partners from Southeast Asia want to use the Poles' experience to save this species and its even rarer cousin - the hornbill from the Sulu Islands.
The Palawan Hornbill is a little-known, endangered species, which can be seen only in a few zoos in the world - Athens, Prague, Pilsen, Dubai and Wrocław. So far, only Wrocław has had breeding success - for the fourth year in a row. We can safely talk about a "patent", because out of 12 individuals living in zoological gardens, 8 have Wrocław in their pedigrees. However, the job doesn't end here, the specialists from Zoo Wrocław want their experience to help protecting these birds in nature.
- There are 16 species of hornbills in the Philippines. One of the most threatened with extinction is the Palawan hornbill, which we have been breeding successfully for several years. It is a species that is an excellent model for further conservation activities. Its closest relative, the hornbill from the Sulu Islands, survived in an estimated number of 19-22 individuals. Our experience will be invaluable in saving this species, because they nest and behave very similarly. I assume that we are able to repeat our success in breeding even more endangered species. - says Radosław Ratajszczak, president of ZOO Wrocław.
In addition, a few weeks ago, we received good news from Katala - a Philippine foundation that has been cooperating with Zoo Wrocław for several years. The foundation helps to develop conservation programs for selected, highly threatened species, such as the Philippine Cockatoo, Palawan Forest Turtle, Philippine freshwater turtle and the Palawan deer. Soon, the foundation's activities will include a conservation program for the Palawan hornbill as well. Nest monitoring programs are currently being implemented in several regions of Palawan, including Dumaran, Iwahig and Pandanan / Bugsuk. The collected data will help to expand knowledge about this species and estimate its number. Nest boxes are to be designed soon and then tested in the field.
- Palawan hornbills are arboreal birds. It is critical to the species' survival to find alternatives to the tree hollows, in which the birds live and reproduce. The destruction and fragmentation of the Palawan forests are depriving them of their natural habitat. Our experience in this regard may also prove invaluable, because this year our birds had to be moved and they were given a box instead of a hollow. It turned out, our previous observations proved helpful - the birds accepted their new home and raised three chicks. - adds Ratajszczak.
Due to the renovation of the Bird House,Wroclaw Palawan hornbills currently live in the backup facility, not available to visitors. In the fall, the pavilion will be reopened and the birds will get a new, double indoor and outdoor aviary. In addition, in the zoo you can meet other birds from this family: the wrinkled hornbill (Aceros corrugatus), the black hornbill (Anthracoceros malayanus) the southern ground hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri) and the African grey hornbill (Tockus nasutus).