MNS Hornbill Volunteer Programme

This information was gathered and published by MESYM from this source.

There are a total of ten (10) different types of hornbills found in Malaysia, of which all can be found in the Belum-Temengor Forest Reserve, Perak State. Reputed to possess high levels of biodiversity, Belum-Temengor is one of the last remaining frontiers that support sizable populations of large birds such as hornbills.

During the second expedition in 1998 (at Sg. Tan Hain, Belum Forest Reserve), the identity of these Aceros hornbills was confirmed as the Plain-pouched Hornbills Aceros subruficollis. This confirmed the presence of a previously unrecorded species of hornbill in Malaysia, making Belum-Temengor one of the two sites in the country with 10 hornbill species to date.

Marking a new country record in 1999, the Plain-pouched Hornbill became a fascinating species needing attention, simply because the numbers in this biologically diverse site were unprecedented anywhere else in the world, putting Belum-Temengor on the map as one of global conservation importance. This served as a catalyst for the MNS Hornbill Conservation Project which strives to gain knowledge and information on hornbills in order to conserve their home, the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex.

The Hornbill survey was incepted in February 2004, made possible with the support from a number of grants and foundations, namely, Rufford Small Grant, Nagao Natural Environment Foundation, Asia Bird Fund, Leica-Forktail Award, British American Tobacco (Malaysia), Singapore Zoo and Sime Plantations Sdn Bhd. Although the hornbill survey focuses on the Plain-pouched Hornbill (Aceros subruficollis), other hornbill species were also noted of when observed during survey trips.

Photo Credit: Wong Jin Fong

The Hornbill survey team led by Yeap Chin Aik, which consists of MNS staffs and experienced members, periodically make trips into Belum-Temengor to look for the magnificent creatures, engaging the local indigenous community to be involved in the surveys.

Large flocks of Plain-pouched Hornbills are observed flying across the Belum-Temengor skyline between July and November every year. In fact, in August 2004, about 1,000 Plain-pouched Hornbills have been sighted on a single sighting.

In August and September, the season for the Plain-pouched Hornbill, thousands of these birds flock in Temengor, perhaps in search of food. The reasons why they migrate here during certain times of the year are uncertain yet, which is the main reason for this programme – to answer the many unanswered questions as to why these birds are here.

Here volunteers can help conduct the important daily flight census and be a part of a national conservation effort, aiding our staff and experienced members in collecting data. Hornbill census is conducted twice a day, once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. This flight census will offer valuable information on population numbers which in turn will be used to advocate for the protection of Belum-Temengor, especially in addressing the logging threats. Join us in our effort to tell the world that the hornbills are a prized asset of our Belum-Temengor forest that must be protected for future generations.

It is hoped that the project will contribute towards understanding the ecology and biology of the globally threatened and near-threatened hornbills. Through this, it is hoped that the knowledge gained through the project will help to improve protection for the hornbills and its habitat.

6th MNS Hornbill Volunteer Programme 2013

MNS Hornbill Volunteer programme for 2013 is back and running for the 6th year!! MNS initiated the first Hornbill Volunteer Programme in 2008 to provide the public with an opportunity to support MNS’ conservation work in monitoring the Plain-pouched Hornbill (PPHB) movements.

Since its launch in 2008, a total of 244 volunteers have come forward to learn about hornbill, science and conservation by participating in real scientific studies. During the programme volunteers will conduct daily flight census data. These data will be stored and analysed to learn more about the hornbill populations and behavior.  This will contribute to the national conservation effort in collecting data.

The Programme will be from 2nd August until 27th September 2013.

Download the volunteer programme factsheet here

Featured Image provided by Steve Wilson under Creative Commons license

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