Hornbill Week: India’s Incredible Hornbills
The Nyishi Tribals
In the spirit of the ongoing Pakke Paga Festival in Arunachal Pradesh, we at Sanctuary are celebrating India’s incredible hornbills. Meet the birds and the Nyishi Tribals who are charting a prolific legacy of protecting the hornbills of Pakke.
Established in 2011 by visionary scientists, village heads and forest officers looking to protect Pakke’s four hornbill species, the Hornbill Nest Protectors’Team is an exemplary model of community conservation. The 11-member-strong team locates and monitors hornbill nests on the fringes of the Pakke Tiger Reserve. Comprising only Nyishi tribals from local villages, many of them erstwhile hunters, the team has since overseen the successful fledging of hornbill chicks for three years, with 90 per cent nesting success in the last two years. Each member monitors specific trees and ensures that no harm comes to the birds. Such measures are helping protect hornbills and their habitat outside the park, where tree felling and other human activities are prevalent. The success of this programme has been supplemented by a pre-existing community ban on the hunting of hornbills and the acceptance of fiberglass hornbill casques as a replacement to real hornbill casques for their traditional headgear.
Photo: Aparajita Dutta