Jakarta. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry on Thursday (23/11) appealed to regional authorities, academics and animal welfare organisations to assist in developing a strategy to save from extinction the helmeted hornbill.
The species, which is found in Sumatra and Kalimantan, has been registered as endangered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) since 1975.
In 2015, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified helmeted hornbill, also known as Rhinoplax vigil, as critically endangered, because of poaching for its helmet-like beak and the loss of habitat due to deforestation.
According to the IUCN, poaching will be on the rise as the value of the helmeted hornbill's beak is increasing on the black market.
The species is now extinct in neighboring Singapore.
Bambang Dahono Adji, the ministry's director for conservation, appealed to all parties to provide input for public campaigns to stop poaching and save the species.
"The helmeted hornbill has a very important role in an ecosystem, as it spreads the seeds of fruit trees," Bambang said in a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday.
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) country director Noviar Andayani said the efforts to save the species will depend on the implementation of protection strategies.
"As the government's partner, we are of course ready to support the efforts to protect the habitats and populations of the helmeted hornbill in several conservation areas, including Gunung Leuser National Park, Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park and Way Kambas National Park," Noviar told the Jakarta Globe.
She added that WCS is also committed to eradicate the illegal trade of the species.