The activity conducted for the group by JungleWalla was called the Rainforest Aid-Hornbill Project which in short was to count the current population of the 3 species of Hornbill birds that inhabit Gunung Raya the highest mountain peak in in Langkawi with a specific focus on the Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis. The data derived form this project will be significant toward the Rainforest Aid initiative.
The activity began with a short presentation on the Natural History of the Hornbills in Langkawi the night before the project held at TM Resort Pantai Tengah Langkawi. It was given by Senior Naturalist and amateur Ornithologist extraordinaire, Irshad Mobarak who explained in detail the life history and behavior and photographic images of the birds as well showed the participants a satellite map of the state of the rainforest in Langkawi which is fast depleting threatening the survival of these birds and all other flora and fauna on the Island.
The participants were also given a mini workshop on how to use birding binocular, how to use the count sheet as well as photos of the three species of Hornbills to assist in the identifying of the birds in the field. To round up the night, some safety tips to be adhered to while birding on the mountain were also touched on by Irshad.
Early the next day, the participants met at the foothill of Gunung Raya at 6.30am to be given the final round of briefing by Irshad. The participants were divided into 10 teams and each team were transported up by vans to their designated checkpoint up the mountain to begin the bird count. Each team had their own team leader and a naturalist from Junglewalla. It was a glorious day of sunshine and the birding had begun!
The teams had all sorts of interesting encounters up the mountain but the most fascinating one was the group stationed very close to the foothill who witnessed firsthand a pair of Great Hornbills training and feeding their adolescent chick. It was a sight to behold and be amazed at and a good sign to know that here in the mountain of Langkawi, Hornbills are surviving another generation of the challenges that face them in the future.
At the end of the activity, all ten teams reported sightings of the three species of hornbills that inhabit Gunung Raya with variations in their count sheet. Irshad gathered all ten teams at the last station and gave them a debrief on the day’s activities and presented them with the Rainforest Aid certificate and a poster of Hornbills to the school head.
Post By: Gary Ruben – Lepidopterist
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