In a report by the Jakarta Post, a 29-year-old man in Riau, Sumatra, was recently arrested by authorities after a video of him allegedly slaughtering an endangered Hornbill bird went viral on Facebook.
The incident was believed to have happened last Friday evening (11th January). The man is reportedly a rubber plantation worker in the Gunung Toar subdistrict in Kuansing, Riau.
While one suspect has already been apprehended, police are still looking for his colleague who is believed to have shot down the endangered bird with a slingshot. Hornbills are usually hunted down for their casques, which are used to make jewellery.
Kuansing Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Mustofa added that the men then proceeded to kill the animal with a machete after shooting it down, saying,
“Before they cooked it, they took pictures and uploaded them onto social media.”
Meanwhile, according to a spokesperson from the Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), the bird’s remains were confiscated from the 29-year-old man’s home when he was arrested by the authorities.
Hornbills are considered an endangered species and are currently protected by the Wild Life Protection Ordinance (1998), according to the Borneo Post.
Known as the “farmers of the forest”, Hornbills play an important part in the growth of Southeast Asia’s forests. According to National Geographic, these birds “farm” new trees by spreading seeds by either regurgitation or defecation. Many species of Hornbill also nest in huge trees with hollow cavities.
These birds typically breed once a year, nursing one chick at a time. While female Hornbills remain in their nest with their chick for 5 months, the male is in charge of feeding them. If male Hornbills are hunted down, there’s a high chance that its mate and chick will not survive.
We have to treat our wildlife better than this. Hornbills are an important part in maintaining our environment and without them, our forests would never be the same!
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