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Indian Grey Hornbill Reinstate to Gir after Decades of Absence

Hornbills, according to Dishant Parasharya of the Bombay Natural History Society, are frugivorous, or fruit-eating birds that disperse the seeds of large trees such as Ficus. They frequently travel long distances in search of fruits, resulting in seed dispersal.

Shivam Dwivedi
Indian Grey Hornbill
Indian Grey Hornbill

Since October, forest officials have released 20 Indian grey hornbills into Gir National Park in Gujarat's Junagadh to reintroduce the species, which was last seen at the sanctuary decades ago. According to Mohan Ram, Deputy Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), there have been sporadic sightings of the species in or around Gir since 1936.

Almost half of the world's 62 hornbill species are threatened, with ten of them found in the Indian subcontinent.

Dushyant Vasavada, the chief conservator of forests (Junagadh wildlife circle), stated that they intend to release 20 more hornbills in Gir because the species' population is expected to stabilize in the next three to four years. "Once their numbers in Gir reach about 500 pairs, it will be safe to assume that their population is stable.”

Hornbills, according to Dishant Parasharya of the Bombay Natural History Society, are frugivorous, or fruit-eating birds that disperse the seeds of large trees such as Ficus. They frequently travel long distances in search of fruits, resulting in seed dispersal.

"This aids in the restoration of connectivity between forest patches, which is critical in maintaining the structure of an ecological community." They are a slow breeding species, with the female-only laying two eggs per breeding season.

In October and December, nine hornbills were captured and released in Gir and on February 24, another batch of 11 birds was captured and released in the Gir landscape." Two male birds were released with solar-powered satellite transmitters out of the group of eleven. One of the tagged males has been named LK in honour of the late Lavkumar Khachar, a well-known ornithologist. "The birds were released on his birthday, February 24," Ram explained.

The satellite-tagged birds are monitored on a regular basis and were discovered to be moving normally in the Gir landscape. The tagging is expected to generate data for species conservation.

About Indian Grey Hornbill

Indian grey hornbill (Ocyceros birostris) is a common hornbill found in India. It is mostly arboreal and is frequently seen in pairs. The body is covered in grey feathers, with a light grey or dull white belly. The horn is black or dark grey, with a casque that extends to the horn's point of curvature.

It is one of the few hornbill species found in urban areas, where they can take advantage of large trees in avenues. This species is mostly found on plains up to 2,000 feet in elevation (610 m). It extends southward from the Himalayan foothills, bounded to the west by the Indus system and to the east by the Ganges Delta.

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