Huge influx of hornbills to village in Songkhla province
Ban Chon Thong village in Na Thawi district of Songkhla province has become a home to plain-pouched hornbills, as more than 400 birds were spotted in the area on Monday.
The number of hornbills in the village near Khao Nam Khang National Park is expected to increase until the end of migration season around August.
Thap Chang Subdistrict Administrative Organisation and Ban Chon Thong villagers have cooperated with Mahidol University's researchers to set up a hornbill research centre in the area to ensure that visitors will not frighten these birds.
Meanwhile, researchers will help create awareness among interested villagers on hornbill preservation.
If villagers can manage visitors and preserve hornbills, Ban Chon Thong village can become an ecotourism village that draws domestic and foreign tourists.
Thailand is home to 13 species of hornbill, named for the distinctive shape of their beaks. These are: the great hornbill, oriental pied hornbill, wreathed hornbill, plain-pouched hornbill, rufous-necked hornbill, helmeted hornbill, black hornbill, bushy-crested hornbill, wrinkled hornbill, Tickell's brown hornbill, Austen's brown hornbill, rhinoceros hornbill, and the white-crowned hornbill.
However, the hornbill population in Thailand is dwindling due to deforestation and hunting. They fetch a high price in the black market as these birds are seen as a “symbol of prestige”.
The birds are covered by the 1992 Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act and people caught possessing, buying or selling them face up to four years in prison and/or a fine of 40,000 baht.