Thailand: Southern Hornbill Populations Threatened

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Narathiwat authorities found a hornbill chick poached from the Budo mountain range when they raided a wildlife illegal trade shop, May 17, 2016. [Nasueroh/BenarNews]


Authorities examine a chick at a shop in Narathiwat province, May 17, 2016. [Nasueroh/BenarNews]


A hornbill chick is ready to return home, May 17, 2016. [Nasueroh/BenarNews]


A wildlife rescue team member climbs a tree to return the chick to its nest , May 17, 2016. [Nasueroh/BenarNews]


An adult hornbill rests in Budo mountain range, May 12, 2016. [Nasueroh/BenarNews]


A hornbill spreads its wings, Budo mountain range, May 12, 2016. [Nasueroh/BenarNews]


A hornbill clings to a branch, May 12, 2016. [Nasueroh/BenarNews]

Thailand's Deep South is known for its rich assortment of hornbills, but populations of this spectacular and endangered species are declining as villagers clear forests for agriculture or poach chicks to sell for food or pets.

Tourism authorities in Narathiwat province report that seven of 54 hornbill species worldwide are found in the Budo mountain range and Hala-bala wilderness in the southern tip of Thailand. Budo and Hala-bala are protected areas covering Songkhla, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat provinces. The region houses six national parks and two wildlife sanctuaries.

A strong hornbill population is seen as an indicator of a vibrant wilderness area as the birds choose to live in a biodiverse region.

Narathiwat police on May 17 raided an illegal wildlife shop in Yee-ngor district, rescuing several wild animals, including a hornbill chick, poached from Budo mountain range. Officials returned the chick and some of the other animals to the wild.


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