Ravinder Kaur, a PhD student supervised by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rosli bin Ramli at Faculty of Science, University of Malaya is the only Malaysian recipient for Future Conservationist Awards for the project entitled: “The Conservation of Borneon Hornbills in Malaysia”.
The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in Sabah is a regenerating forest and the population of critically endangered Helmeted Hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil) and near threatened Rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros) are declining (based on monthly river surveys conducted by HUTAN). Being secondary hole-nesters, hornbills do not create tree cavities. Hence, its population is limited by the availability of suitable tree cavities, food plants and roosting sites. Because of its heavy casque, Helmeted Hornbills require a protruding cavity to use as its perch. It is also hunted for its “red ivory” in neighbouring countries.
The loss of suitable natural cavities is a direct threat to the long-term survival of the hornbills. Hence, the purpose of Ravinder's project is to provide breeding opportunities for the hornbills. Nest cavities will be located using plots (systematic sampling) and then evaluated and restored accordingly (e.g soil added to raise a sunken cavity floor). In addition, artificial nest boxes will be tested, developed and installed to provide more breeding opportunities for the hornbills.
The project received research permits from Sabah Biodiversity Centre, Sabah Wildlife Department and Sabah Forestry Department. It is funded by the Malaysian Government’s Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS FP065-2016) and supported by NGO HUTAN, Chester Zoo, Phoenix Zoo and Beauval Zoo.
Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) is a partnership of the world's leading biodiversity conservation organizations - BirdLife International, Fauna & Flora International and Wildlife Conservation Society. These partners work together to deliver the common vision of a better future for all life on Earth. CLP supports high-priority biodiversity conservation by building the leadership skills of early career conservationists who are striving to overcome major threats to nature in places where capacity and access to resources is limited.
The Future Conservationist Award is granted to teams carrying out high-priority conservation projects lasting between three and 12 months. Winning teams will receive grants of up to $12,500 as well as training and support throughout their projects.
Associate Prof. Dr. Rosli Bin Ramli
Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science,
University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia