Indian Grey Hornbills to Be Reintroduced in Gujarat's Gir Forest After Over Eight Decades

Indian grey hornbill - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.03.2022
Hornbills are tropical birds that can be easily characterised by their considerably large and curved bills and uncanny noise. They are fruit-eating birds, also known as the forest farmer, as they play an important role in dispersing the seeds helping in plants' reproduction.
The forest department of India's Gujarat state said that it has released 20 Indian Great Hornbills (IGH) in three batches to re-introduce them in the largest contiguous forest tract in western India.
Once common to India's western region, now, the birds are tagged as extinct, especially in Gir forest. It is estimated that IGH was last seen in the forest almost 90 years ago; this is the second such attempt to re-introduce this species after a unsuccessful effort in 1980.
The IGH was a common sight during winters until 1936, but sightings have fallen drastically since then.
The attempt also came after IGH was sighted in 2013 near the western part of the forest, which is also a protected area, Mohan Ram, Deputy conservator of Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (GNPWL), told reporters.
Ram also shared that there is a total of 62 species of hornbills globally, ten species are found in the Indian subcontinent, but IGH are only found in Gujarat.
Almost 48 percent of hornbills species are threatened globally.
In around 2015, the hornbill had progressed from vulnerable to critically endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's list. In India, poaching or hunting hornbills is illegal.
The Gir forest department said that it would monitor the bird's movement via satellite tagging. The tagging is expected to generate data for the conservation of the species, Ram further explained.
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