Sunny will shine as a beacon of hope for all threatened hornbill species;
Year-end holiday activities at the park will include hornbill feeding sessions and mascot appearances.
SINGAPORE – As a nod to its unique place in Singapore’s biodiversity, Jurong Bird Park has introduced Sunny the Hornbill as the park’s animal icon.
Starting with just five Hornbill species when the park opened in 1971, Jurong Bird Park today is home to the largest collection of Southeast Asian Hornbills in the world. Of the 18 Hornbill species in the park, 11 are native to Southeast Asia.
Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy CEO and Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore said, “We have chosen the Hornbill as Jurong Bird Park’s animal icon as we think this striking bird will be a relatable ambassador for all threatened bird species that need our help and protection. We have great success in Singapore where we have helped to reintroduce the oriental pied hornbill. There are other species such as the Helmeted Hornbill that are being hunted relentlessly and urgently need our help.”
Jurong Bird Park has long been actively involved in hornbill conservation efforts. Locally, Oriental Pied Hornbills were not seen for 140 years prior to 1994. In 2005, Jurong Bird Park entered a collaboration dedicated to the breeding and conserving of these birds and today, Singapore is home to a thriving population of Oriental Pied Hornbills. In 2013, three Oriental Pied Hornbill eggs rescued from Pulau Ubin were successfully incubated and hatched at the park’s Breeding & Research Centre. This marked the world’s first successful incubation and hatching of an Oriental Pied Hornbill.
The park’s Hornbill conservation efforts go beyond local shores. Last year, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (parent company of Jurong Bird Park) hosted the first Helmeted Hornbill Workshop, and was instrumental in the uplisting of the species’ IUCN* status to ‘Critically Endangered’. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Helmeted Hornbill population has drastically declined from habitats in Sumatra where it was once found in abundance.
In his role as the park icon, Sunny will be a beacon of hope for all threatened hornbill species by raising greater awareness on the hornbill ivory trade. Guests can learn more about the threats Hornbills face through Sunny’s daily appearances at the High Flyers show and getting up close with some of the park’s Hornbills and their keepers at the daily Hornbill Chit-Chat sessions.
From 19 Nov to 11 Dec, guests can participate in many Hornbill-focused activities. They can feed Hornbills under supervision and learn all about them at the daily Hornbill Chit-Chat sessions, take photos with Sunny the Hornbill mascot, indulge in some fun-filled craft activities and pen some love notes at the Hornbill Love Mail.