Nature Mates Nature Club

THT Action Grant 2023

Project Name:

Creating Capacities for Hornbill Conservation in Buxa Tiger Reserve

Project Brief:

The north Bengal landscape is home to five species of hornbills: The Great Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, Rufous-necked hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbill and the Indian Grey Hornbill. The first three species are listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List.

Research done by Nature Mates Nature Club in the region since 2017 has identified key threats to hornbills and their habitat at Buxa Tiger Reserve: poaching at nests, habitat degradation and fragmentation. Habitat loss is a major concern for hornbills as they require specific food plants and nesting trees for successful breeding. It’s also important to note that tourism is an important source of livelihood at Buxa. Increasing nature tourism and demand of birders and bird photographers exert pressure on local guides who have not received formal training on nature tourism. Increasing their skills and knowledge as nature guides with some guidelines would promote regulated nature tourism and improve their scope of livelihoods.

Nature Mates proposes to establish an alliance with the Forest Department to restore degraded habitats through scientific-based forest restoration practices. They aim to provide scientific and technical assistance to the Department and build capacities at the ground level. They also propose to continue their ongoing research to understand long-term patterns of hornbill breeding, roosting and tree phenology to improve ecological understanding of hornbills from this region. Additionally, via the project, they also propose focused programmes with nature guides and local schools to increase support and conservation awareness. The project aims to improve hornbill research and establish a conservation network with key stakeholders at Buxa.

Project objectives:
  • Continuation of long-term research and monitoring of hornbill ecology and their habitat.
  • Build an alliance with the Forest Department to improve habitats through forest restoration in Buxa Tiger Reserve.
  • Engage with key stakeholders in the local communities to increase awareness and conservation education.
Highlights from the field:
  • This project is ongoing