Hornbill Release Program

Hornbill Release Program

Hornbill program

In recent years, following the increase of illegally traded hornbills, we are confronted with more rescued hornbills. There are over 23 individuals in Cikananga Wildlife Center, which means we have one of the most significant populations in captivity! Trade in hornbills is still increasing also due to internet sales, like on Facebook! Currently we are progressing the release project and are planning to release individuals soon (2022).

A knobbed hornbill (Rhyticeros cassidix) in Cikananga Wildlife Center

Because there are no specialized rescue – rehabilitation centers or release projects for hornbills in Indonesia, we could not translocate the hornbills. Therefore we are developing our own rehabilitation and release project for hornbills. Initially, we will focus on the Javanese species we are currently housing, but in the future, we aim to include species of other islands.

With the help of intern Sam Oostra, who raised funding for the hornbills, Ouwehands Zoo Foundation and Orangutan Help project Luxembourg we were able to build suitable rehabilitation enclosures for the hornbills and to improve their diet. More natural and protein-rich feedings are offered daily to the hornbills.

The first hornbills that we aim to release are thirteen young wreathed hornbills (Rhyticeros undulates). These wreathed hornbills were confiscated from the wildlife trade in Java and were sheltered in Cikananga Wildlife Rescue Centre when only 6 to 8 months old. In the rehabilitation process, there is extra focus on foraging behavior, social behavior, natural food intake. To analyze survival skills of the hornbill’s daily observations are done by staff, volunteers, and students.

Habitat assessments and surveys started to find a suitable release place for them.

Since hornbill releases are very uncommon in Indonesia, there is a limited experience, which makes it a challenging program. But currently we are working together with IUCN Hornbill Specialist Group, Rangkong Indonesia Chester Zoo and Wildlife Reserves Singapore which are sharing valuable experience and advice.

A wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus) currently in Cikananga

At this moment (August 2022) we are preparing releases for multiple Hornbills. Stay tuned for updates as we are progressing on this important project.  Please find an update on the preparations here.

If you want to cooperate or sponsor our Hornbill Release Program, please contact us at info@wanicare.com

Supporters of the Hornbill Release Program:

orangutan hilfe wanicare CikanangAOuwehands Zoo Foundation Wanicare Cikananga Hornbills