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CHARITY SPOTLIGHT: GROUND HORNBILL

Meet our brand-new charity partners in Ground Hornbill Conservation

We are so excited to officially reveal our latest charity bracelet collaboration! Get ready to add to your stack because our brand-new gemstone creation is available for purchase, and we love it especially because it’s for a good cause.

It’s with great pleasure that we introduce you to the incredible people who dedicate their lives to conserving a fascinating creature whose population in South Africa has declined by two thirds over the last century (until these guys came along...) .

The Southern ground-hornbill is the world’s largest co-cooperatively breeding bird, which means it relies on its family to raise its young. This big, bold, black bird is magnificent – not just for its enviable eyelashes and striking black plumage – but it really has defeated the odds as habitat destruction has made it hard for the hornbills to breed. Where our two chosen charities are involved, this bird’s national population is steadily rising! 

Here’s how

Ground-hornbills need really specific nesting conditions and they only rear one chick at a time. They are also known to breed only once every nine years, but where the APNR Ground-Hornbill Project is involved, ground-hornbills are breeding every two to three years! It is the dedicated work of this organisation and the Mabula Ground-Hornbill Project that is changing the future of the nicknamed “thunderbird”.

These organisations work hand-in-hand to repopulate protected areas with wild ground-hornbills. This is no small feat and it takes many hours in the field and many years of careful study to successfully hand-rear baby hornbills from hatching. 

The process of “harvesting” wild ground-hornbill eggs and eventually releasing mature birds into the wild begins with Kyle Middleton and Carrie Hickman of the APNR Ground-Hornbill Project. 

 

These two are currently heading up a 20+ year-long study supported by the Fitzpatrick Institute of Ornithology and for the past four years they have monitored about 30 groups of wild ground-hornbills on the border of the Kruger Park. Their work involves fitting artificial nests in specifically marked trees so that the birds have a place to breed. They monitor the birds carefully during the annual breeding season and once the two eggs hatch, they quickly remove the second egg from the nest. 

This careful process has minimal impact on the birds themselves and in fact, that second chick is never destined to live. In nature, only the first chick to hatch in the nest will survive. 

Once the chick is safely removed from the nest, the Mabula Ground-Hornbill Project comes in to ensure that it not only survives, but thrives, and is eventually released into the wild. Lucy Kemp has managed the Mabula Project for the last 10 years and her amazing work boasts a 90% success rate in hand-raising and releasing healthy ground-hornbills. 

Once Mabula has managed to bring a chick into the world, they have to handle the feeding, rearing, and socialising of each one so that when it comes time to “fly free”, the birds will successfully join groups and become part of the natural ecosystem again. From hand feeding to foster parents to “bush schools”, the process of raising a thunderbird is incredible! 

Ground-hornbills are important not only to our natural world, but also to the culture of South Africa. Lucy explains:

“These birds are part of the rural African landscape. We always think of them in pristine areas like the Kruger Park, but actually the natural environment is in amongst homesteads and herds of cattle. They are very much deep, integral parts of the African landscape.”

Having watched these conservationists at work and seen the tremendous impact they have had on changing the future of the Southern ground-hornbill, there is no doubt in our minds that we want to show our support and give our Wild Tribe the opportunity to do the same. 

Ground Hornbill Charity Bracelet

As with all of our charity bracelets, 50% of the purchase price of this all-new beaded bracelet will go directly to the Mabula & APNR Ground-Hornbill Projects. 

Funding is hard to come by and it makes the world of difference to the impact these organisations can have, so every bracelet bought is making a difference!

Of course, we designed this special bracelet to emulate the striking, bold colouration of the ground-hornbill itself. Jet-black obsidian and the earthy ochre of red jasper are the two tones that come together with a specially designed ground-hornbill pendant to create this brand-new piece in our collection.

We are so pleased to finally release this piece and to pair up with another two non-profits that are changing our wild, African landscape. 

Written by Chloe Cooper 

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