Photo by @Joelsartore
This is a critically endangered helmeted hornbill, found only in Sumatra and Borneo, with rare residence in the Malayan peninsula and southern Thailand. Unique to this hornbill species, the casque of this bird is solid ivory, and because of this they have been heavily poached in the ornamental trade. The hornbill’s casque, or “helmet”, allows them to pick up and manage food, helps to resonate sound when calling, and it has been suggested that the hornbill can also use the casque like a hammer. Another threat to this species are native peoples in the Malaysian Peninsula, who hunt them due to the belief that their casques can protect them from evil spirits. The Penang Bird Park in Malaysia where this bird was photographed works to conserve this species and breed them in captivity. This bird is one of two helmeted hornbills at the park that were saved and donated by a local lumberjack who found the female and a her baby in the tree while he was working. Knowing how rare this species was, he made sure to deliver the hornbills to Penang, where they have been carefully taken care of and kept healthy since their arrival. #Photoark #helmetedhornbill Follow @joelsartore to see a video of this hornbill!