The first steps towards building the Baobab hand-rearing centre have begun. Nineteen birds were processed for full health checks, tattooed (yes! read more below), ringed, microchiped, and then nine of these birds were safely moved to the exquisite aviaries at Uhbetjan-o-Africa where they will be held until the construction is completed. This was a massive collaborative effort that involved the passionate people from six institutions and ensured the day went smoothly.

The Baobab plans are nearing completion thanks to the hard work of Gareth Leonard and we are extremely excited that this dream will come to fruition. To watch a short video of the rationale behind this centre click here

Safe recovery of escaped 
male  called Rukwa due to concerned citizen reports.

A Southern Ground-Hornbill escaped from a captive facility in Pretoria on Old Years Eve. He was extremely skittish and during earlier capture attempts he avoided the trap entirely and, if anything, the call-ups frightened him away. After three months out he must have become increasingly lonely and it was likely that the use of a call-up of a begging chick brought him in. He was safely trapped and moved to the Loskop Dam Nature Reserve aviaries. He settled immediately and began feeding two of the recently fledged chicks. We are still assessing the most valuable role for him but it is likely he will be given a female and the responsibility of fostering wild-harvested chicks in the future. We hope he will instil in them the survival skills that kept him safe during his adventures through Pretoria East.  

The easiest way for South Africans to support the conservation of this iconic species for free is to sign up for a MyPlanet card and, with every purchase you make, a small percentage of your spend will be donated to the Project. It takes just 30 seconds to complete the application and all you need to do is remember to swipe your card. If you are already a card holder you can add us as an additional beneficiary - you may support three organisations of your choice. 

 Thabakhubedu Primary School from Rooiberg visited Mabula Game Reserve to learn more about ground-hornbills and just enjoy being in the bush. Despite these 28 learners living in an area surrounded by private game farms very few of them have had the opportunity to see what happens behind the tall, electrified game fences. We used this opportunity to show them that conservation is a career option on their back doorstep and hope that these trips will stimulate a new generation of young conservationists. 


'not quite what you think'

To ensure the way we permanently identify the Southern Ground-Hornbills is absolutely safe, we have reinstated tattooing of a code onto the bare skin of the their lower mandible. With an expert tattoo artist from 7th Street Handstyle tattoos in Melville, Johannesburg, and three vets, we tested the technique on ten sub-adults and nine newly fledged chicks. Remarkably, the chicks took the tattooing very well despite not having the calmative that was administered to the sub-adults and showed no stress or signs of pain and the whole procedure took less than a minute.  
We will now use this technique on an ongoing basis and will also develop a field protocol.

We are thrilled to have won the RCI Nature Conservation award! 

Exciting new collaboration: 

skills development & supporting conservation

These gorgeous hand-turned bowls are all made from African hardwood wood that have been pre-selected by elephants. A local team is being trained in the skill required for wood-turning and the proceeds from the sale of these beautiful bowls go back to the artisans, into expanding the skills development programme, and into ground-hornbill conservation. The link between African hardwoods and ground-hornbill is that these grand trees sometimes hold the hollows that ground-hornbills nest. 
We are proud to be part of this fully sustainable collaboration with Bhekile Wood. 
If you are interested in learning more about these bowls and their fascinating back story drop us a line.