Hope for the rarest hornbill in the world (commentary)

Of the 32 hornbill species found in Asia, three are currently considered Critically Endangered with global extinction, according to IUCN criteria. One of those, the helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil), is currently the focus of a conservation project by a recently formed Helmeted Hornbill Working Group. Another, the rufous-headed hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus waldeni), is being studied under a project supported by BirdLife International. Meanwhile, the Sulu hornbill (Anthracoceros montani) has the smallest population of any of the Critically Endangered hornbill species and must in fact be considered the rarest and most endangered hornbill in the world. Its distribution range has shrunk, its population has collapsed, and the species is in imminent danger of disappearing altogether — yet it has received no conservation attention. The Sulu hornbill — “tawsi” in the local language — is endemic to the Philippines, occurring only on islands in the Sulu Archipelago between Mindanao and Borneo. It is the sole member of the Bucerotidae family within its area and was described as widespread and abundant at the time of its discovery in 1880. Since then, the population has crashed. Today, the only viable breeding population of the Sulu hornbill known to exist is found on the small island of Tawi-Tawi, where a mere 100 square kilometers (close to 25,000 acres) of suitable forest remains, according to the IUCN. The total global population is estimated to be about 40 individuals. Parts of a hill where the Sulu hornbill has been found has been illegally logged by villagers who moved…

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Original Post by Mongabay

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