August 20, 2015
The Zoo has participated in conservation efforts aimed at protecting Southern ground hornbills for a number of years.
Native to areas south of the equator in Africa, this species of hornbill is the largest in the world. Hornbills build their nests in large, natural cavities in trees and only fledge chicks about once every nine years. They have a lifespan of 50-60 years. These birds are carnivorous and stay hydrated from the food that they eat. Their loud, booming calls can be heard up to a mile away; they are culturally important as “thunder” or “rain” birds.
Within South Africa, these hornbills have been listed as Endangered.
All of the threats to this species are directly or indirectly caused by humans. This means that changing perceptions and creating awareness of the plight of this species is the first step in their conservation. Each year educators in Africa interact with about 2000 local school children and just as many adults.
The Mabula Ground Hornbill Project specializes in conservation action through a multi-prolonged approach built around four key program elements; 1) Reintroduction biology, 2) Threat mitigation, 3) Education & awareness, and 4) Custodianship and land use awareness.
The Zoo is a proud supporter of the Project and is excited to offer patrons a way to help support them too.
Artisans in Africa are creating pendents to raise money and awareness. These solid sterling silver pendents are hand-crafted in Zimbabwe using the lost wax method. The artists that create these beautiful hornbills make fair and sustainable wages.
To purchase a pendent, email the Zoo. They are $30 each, plus shipping, and all proceeds from the sales of the pendents goes to the Mabula Ground Hornbill Project.