NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2018
May 2018 bring you all you dream of:
we dream of more ground-hornbills in the bush, more community engagement, the Baobab centre completed and to keep growing both our scope and our team skills.
Another successful harvest out of the way. This past summer the egg laying was so synchronised that we were able to complete collection of our quota in just one week. One of the major contributors to the success of the harvest was our new candling equipment specially designed for us by Lyon Technologies Inc, USA. We were able, by visiting the nest during early incubation, to ensure that we calculated hatching dates to within 48 hours. This required no follow up visits that may have risked disturbing the group and we were able to harvest plump, healthy, well-hydrated chicks.
What a year for the Southern Ground-Hornbill Action Group. We, together with the IUCN SSC, National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, Disney Conservation Fund and Mabula Private Game Reserve, hosted the 2nd Population and Habitat Viability Assessment in August 2017, hosted by the brilliant Prof. Mike Brufford. Just about all of the ground-hornbill conservation stakeholders attended, and we were able collectively to forge a clear path ahead for streamlining and fast-tracking the conservation of this species. In 2018 we will host a National Biodiversity Management Plan workshop with the Department of Environmental Affairs, and to ensure we all work with a centralised mandate and then all stakeholders will then be required to provide an annual report on progress. Watch this space for Project Thunderbird, an umbrella grouping will be the current Action Group morphed into a collective brand to ensure we present a united front and that all of our work is again, streamlined and as effective as possible - including nest provision, research, education, awareness and so much more. A MASSIVE thank you to all who brought their ideas, expertise and love of this iconic species to the table. A fascinating process that yielded some incredibly good new ways of tackling some issues we have been grappling with for years.
We avoided any losses to the massive Avian Influenza outbreak late last year thanks to an excellent precautionary protocol developed by Tracy Rhese and Dr Katja Koeppel. All partners did their bit to minimise risks as much as possible.
The IUCN Reintroduction course held in London was a brilliant training exercise - with a focus on the people aspects of reintroductions - how to make smart decisions, take all ideas and views into account and still ensure that reintroductions are fulfilling their primary goal of turning things around for a species.
Our education programme reached 15950 learners and 288 teachers in 2017 and we expanded our reach in three provinces
The reintroduction programme is slowly gaining traction with the release of six more hand-reared birds into existing groups and the formation of one new group... with intrigueing outcomes that have taught us so much on how to keep improving our reintroduction protocols.
We are on Instagram now!! Find us at ground.hornbill