Please, before you go to sleep tonight, think of ways you can reach out and help all the creatures out there—–humans as well.
Southern Ground Hornbill. “In Africa, southern ground-hornbills are classified as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN, however, those in South Africa are classified as ‘endangered’ on the Red List of Threatened Species as only about 1500 individuals live within the country. Loss of habitat, loss of nesting trees, electrocution from transformer boxers and even, in some cases, killed for use in traditional medicine, have all contributed to the rapid decline of these majestic birds.
In the wild, group sizes of the southern ground-hornbills vary between 2-9 birds that form cooperatively breeding groups that consist of only one alpha male and one breeding female, with the remaining individuals helping with nest-building and protecting the territory.
Much like some other birds of prey, the eldest chick always out-competes its younger sibling for food and the younger dies of starvation within a few days of hatching. Data from the Kruger National Park shows that, on average, one chick is raised to adulthood every nine years, with the average adult lifespan being 50 years.
Efforts to conserve the species are being undertaken by various conservation projects, such as the Mabula Ground-Hornbill Project that has been running since 1999 within the Mabula Game Reserve. Conservation of the ground-hornbills often involve the harvesting, and hand-rearing, of second-hatched chicks that would usually die of starvation in their wild nests. Provision of artificial nests where there are none and reintroduction of these birds back into areas where they have become locally extinct form the basis of these projects.
For most of us, endangered animals are a far-away mystery. British photographer Tim Flach spent the last 2 years braving their habitats and documenting their fragile existences. Thank you Mr. Flach. Photo is of a Hornbill.