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Official Magazine of the Nature Society (Singapore)

Hornbill sketch
by A. Tay
The only truly 'wild' hornbills

Lim Kim Seng (NSS Bird Group) wrote in to say.

"I am dropping a line to correct the mention of hornbills in Singapore in the article, Is Our Oldest Forest Dying?. The writer mentioned that the hornbill population is non-existent except for a Great Hornbill at the Botanic gardens. This is incorrect.

Firstly, all wild hornbill species were extirpated in Singapore before this century. The only truly 'wild' hornbills are those found in off shore islands such as Pulau Ubin. This species is always the Oriental Pied Hornbill which is a riverine and coastal hornbill also found in the Riau islands. In recent years this species has been sighted fairly often in Pulau Ubin, perhaps due to forest degradation in Johor.

Secondly, escaped or released hornbills are not uncommon (despite many of them being on the CITES list), and the Great Hornbill at the Botanic Gardens falls under this category, as do a number of other species such as the Black and Bushy-crested Hornbills. In fact, some of these birds, like the Northern Pied and Black Hornbills, are nesting in our forests, illustrating the dangers of indiscriminate introductions."

Lim Kim Seng explains in later issues, why it is unwise to introduce non-native species into our forests.

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