The Helmeted Hornbill Working Group (HHWG) was informally convened by the Asian Species Action Partnership (ASAP) in 2015 following the up-listing of the species to Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List Authority. In 2017, a Conservation Strategy and Action Planning workshop was held in Kubah National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia on 19 – 20 May, to identify priority actions to address threats to the species across its range. During this workshop, it was agreed that the WG should be formalized and an appropriate structure developed which would be responsible for driving and enabling implementation of this strategy. In addition, this group will provide ongoing advice and support to government agencies and NGOs working to conserve the species. The WG is now officially a subgroup of the IUCN SSC Hornbill Specialist Group.
It comprises of members, four thematic sub-groupsfocused on illegal trade, habitat protection, research and capacity developmentand each led by a Lead and supported by aCo-Lead, a Facilitatorfor each range, transit and consumer state and Coordinator(s)to support communication and reporting. The sub-groups are responsible for driving implementation of actions in the strategy and for tracking progress. The Working Group members may be part of multiple thematic sub-groups.
The 10-year conservation strategy and action plan
The Helmeted Hornbill faces a conservation crisis that requires an urgent response. A conservation planning workshop bringing together a multi-stakeholder group consisting of government agencies, non-government organisations, academia, field experts, donors and a zoological institution was held in Sarawak, Malaysia in May 2017 to construct such a response.
This document outlines a bold, long-term vision to ensure that the unique Helmeted Hornbill thrives in ecologically functional populations across its natural range, valued by local and global stakeholder communities and effectively protected from threats related to poaching, trafficking and habitat loss. It presents a ten-year Conservation Strategy and Action Plan that calls for unprecedented levels of international collaboration and an increase in financial resources to scale up conservation attention aimed at targeted population recovery across the species’ range. A key priority is the need to eliminate trafficking and trade in Helmeted Hornbills, their parts and derivatives by ensuring that the CITES Appendix I listing for the species is effectively implemented, banning all commercial trade (including domestic trade) through the implementation of effective national and international regulations, and demand reduction approaches. In addition, it is critically important that Helmeted Hornbill populations and associated habitats are strictly protected across their natural range through effective anti-poaching efforts and on-the-ground protection. Empowerment of local communities and engagement of private sector entities to protect populations also constitute a core part of the strategy. It is imperative that all relevant stakeholders work collectively and collaboratively to achieve the outcomes outlined in this strategy.