Feb 7

#LoveSpecies nominee: helmeted hornbill

Nominated by: World Land Trust

Why do you love it?

The fierce appearance of the world’s largest hornbill, with a battering ram of solid keratin fixed to their face, suits its medieval mating rituals. The males clash mid-air in head-to-head combat (an impressive display called aerial jousting) to win access to fruiting fig trees. Females then lock themselves up in nesting holes with mud, where they lay their eggs and rely entirely on their mate for their survival, and that of their offspring. 

What are the threats to the helmeted hornbill? 

The helmeted hornbill is targeted by poachers for the helmet-like casque on the upper half of its beak. Unlike other hornbills, this casque is made from a solid ivory-like substance, which makes them a prime target for the illegal wildlife trade.

In recent years, demand for hornbill ivory has seen a concerning rise, with around 6,000 helmeted hornbills lost every year, causing them to be classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List.

Helmeted hornbills are also highly threatened by the rapid rates of forest loss. The escalation of illegal logging and land conversion, as well as forest fires, has significantly reduced suitable habitat for the species.


What are you doing to save it?

World Land Trust (WLT) works in Malaysian Borneo with conservation partner Hutan to preserve habitat for endangered species like the Helmeted Hornbill. As well as funding the purchase of land to create important wildlife corridors, WLT funds the employment of members of local communities to manage and protect the land, and to encourage sustainable, traditional practices.

As the hornbill’s natural habitat is declining Hutan has also established a next box programme to provide safe nesting locations where hornbills can be monitored.

Mar 27

Arkive’s Week in Review — Wildlife News

ICYMI: Arkive has compiled some of the biggest and most interesting headlines from this week.

Article originally published on Friday, Mar 20, 2015

Pleasure palace in Lao facilitates wildlife poaching for Chinese elites

Chinese-pangolin

Chinese pangolin

A city-sized resort in Laos is facilitating large scale wildlife trafficking for Chinese tourists. Visitors can openly buy endangered species products including pangolins and helmeted hornbills.

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Helmeted-hornbill-male-with-large-stick-insect-to-be-delivered-to-female-in-nest

Helmeted hornbill male

Article originally published on Saturday, Mar 21, 2015

Green sea turtle still at risk, say wildlife agencies

Green-turtle-ventral-view

Green turtle ventral view

Hawaii has fewer than 4,000 nesting green turtles with 96 percent of them nesting at French Frigate Shoals. This makes the population highly vulnerable to disease outbreaks.

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Article originally published on Sunday, Mar 22, 2015

Opossums may come to humans’ rescue for snake anti-venom

Patagonian-opossum-portrait

Patagonian opossum

Opossums suffer no ill effects from snake bite venom due to a protein which appears to neutralize the venom. Poisonous snake bites account for the death of 20,000 humans a year.

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Article originally published on Monday, Mar 23, 2015

Skin microbiome may hold clue to protect threatened golden frogs from lethal fungus

Golden-arrow-poison-frog-on-leaf

Golden arrow poison frog on leaf

Researchers applied the beneficial bacteria from the skin of several  wild Panamanian frog species that were Bd-resistant to the skin of the golden arrow poison frog hoping it would confer resistance. While this procedure did not confer resistance, researchers learned that survivors of the fungus already possessed unique bacterial communities prior to the experiment.

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Article originally published on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2015

World’s forest have fragmented into tiny patches

Munchique-wood-wren-on-the-hand-of-a-scientist

Munchique wood-wren

Fragmentation reduces biodiversity by up to 75%. Some fragmented regions house endemic species such as the Munchique wood-wren that exists in only a handful of peaks in the Colombian Andes, but these are now isolated from each other by pastures and roads.

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Article originally published on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2015

Elephant poaching rate unchanged – and still devastating

Forest-elephant-bull

Forest elephant bull

Around 20,000 elephants were killed in 2014, which is the same as 2013. China remains the largest market for ivory, while the United States is second.

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Article originally published on Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

Why there is a record number of starving sea lion pups this year

Young-California-sea-lion

Young California sea lion

Since the start of the year, more than 1,800 sea lion pups have washed up on California shore from San Diego to San Francisco. Researchers are looking at warmer oceans as the primary culprit.

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Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA

 

 

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