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A Party For Hornbills

A Party For Hornbills

Hornbills fascinate me. Their distinct way of nesting and their unique physical features leave me wonderstruck. “Such enchanting birds... who would ever want to harm them?” I wondered.

Rufous-necked Hornbill Photo: Rupak Ghosh Dastidar/Entry-Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards 2017

Unfortunately, I found out that these avian wonders are struggling to survive due to poaching and habitat loss. I worried about the future of these birds and I wanted to help. But what could I do? Then, one day my dad came home and told me about an organisation called the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) and their Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme.

THE HORNBILL NEST ADOPTION PROGRAMME

This programme was aimed at saving species such as Rufous-necked Hornbills, classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN. There are only about 7,000 to 10,000 wild Rufous-necked Hornbills left in the world. In India, mainly found in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, these birds were poached for their meat and beaks, leading to a sharp decline in their numbers.

The birthday cake. Photo: Prakash Bulusu

Concerned at the state of these birds, NCF started the Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme in the Pakke Tiger Reserve. A haven for hornbills, four of the nine hornbill species in India are found in Pakke! The adoption programme monitors hornbill nests with help from local people. Anyone can become a hornbill parent by adopting a nest for Rs. 6,000 per year. In return, NCF shares two reports every breeding season with details of the hornbills’ nesting status and the nest trees, which are monitored and protected.

The table decor. Photo: Prakash Bulusu

A BRIGHT IDEA!

I finally knew what I could do to help. All I needed was a plan to raise money for the nests. My goal was to adopt at least three nests. As I thought and thought, a brilliant idea struck me. Eureka! My birthday was just around the corner, and I thought that instead of accepting presents, I would request my friends to help me raise money towards the Hornbill Nest Programme. I changed the theme of my birthday to hornbills and even made a special invite with the purpose of raising funds. This year, it was not only about me – it was also about the hornbills.

The return gift.
Photo: Prakash Bulusu

PROUD MAMA

I celebrated my birthday a couple of months ago, and I am glad to report that the plan worked well. I was able to raise enough money to adopt six nests! I am hopeful that my friends too will be inspired and motivated towards nature conservation and perhaps do something similar for their favourite animals on their birthdays. My dream is to visit the Pakke Tiger Reserve and see these lovely hornbills.

Sahiti Bulusu (fourth from left) is a fifth grader at The International School of Bangalore. She is a wildlife enthusiast with a love for birds. Photo: Prakash Bulusu

Author: Sahiti Bulusu, First published in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXVIII No. 5, May 2018.

 
 
 

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