Community-based Patrols and Nest Guardians to Combat Poaching of the Critically Endangered Helmeted Hornbill in Indonesia

The Helmeted Hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil) inhabits lowland and upland rainforests in Southeast Asia. Recent data has shown that the Helmeted Hornbill red ivory in China is nearly five times that of elephant ivory. From 2012 to 2014 over 1,000 casks were confiscated by the Indonesian government, and in 2013 one study estimated nearly 500 adult Helmeted Hornbills were killed per month (6,000 per year) in the West Kalimantan province alone. The evolutionary circumstances of this species cause it to be at high risk for extinction as this species breeds slowly and exists at extremely low carrying capacities. In West Kalimantan, Indonesia the Helmeted Hornbill is the provincial symbol and can be found at tourist attractions throughout the province. Despite the appearance of “local pride” in this species, this province has been the target of the trade in Indonesia with an estimated 80% of casks exported from Indonesia originating from Western Borneo. The purpose of this project is to counter wildlife trafficking in West Kalimantan, Indonesia by increasing protection of habitat and increasing law enforcement to conserve the symbol of West Kalimantan. This project is intended to conserve the Helmeted Hornbill by addressing the impacts of the yellow and red ivory trade that is decimating populations throughout the species range. Specific activities focus engaging communities in the Gunung Nuit Nature Reserve in community-based SMART patrol units and a Nest Guardians program.