On 2 December, FLIGHT assisted the South Sulawesi Natural Resources Conservation Agency to release 10 red knobbed hornbills into the wild. These hornbills are victims of illegal trade. They were rescued at the Tanjung Perak Seaport, Surabaya when they were about to be smuggled to East Java from Sulawesi.
Officers assisted by FLIGHT staff found the hornbills trapped in small boxes hidden in the truck. The hornbills are then sent to an rescue center managed by the East Java Natural Resources Conservation Agency for treatment. After confirming that they are healthy, the hornbills are then translocated to to Sulawesi as its native area and released into the wild.
The knobbed hornbill (Rhyticeros cassidix), also known as Sulawesi wrinkled hornbill, is a colourful hornbill native to Indonesia. The knobbed hornbill is the faunal symbol of South Sulawesi province.
As with other hornbills, the knobbed hornbill is believed to be monogamous. Its diet consists mainly of fruits, but it will also take insects and small vertebrates.
Knobbed hornbills are important seed dispersers in their habitat and influence the initial fate of seeds of several tropical forest tree species.
The species is currently classified as vulnerable by the IUCN. Despite being locally very common, they are threatened by habitat destruction from logging (since they depend on large and mature trees for breeding) and to some extent by hunting.