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M’sian Hornbill Researcher Wins Marsh Award For Conservation Projects

M’sian Hornbill Researcher Wins Marsh Award For Conservation Projects

Saving the birds, one nest at a time.

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Wildlife researcher Dr Ravinder Kaur was awarded the 2020 Marsh Awards earlier this month for her outstanding contributions to sustainable biodiversity at the local level.

She is currently partnered with local NGO Hutan-Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sancturay in Bornea to conserve our native hornbill species.

Dr Ravinder Kaur with her team from HUTAN.
(Credit: Marsh Christian Trust)

The project has seen a pretty impressive and successful track record. Since 2013, Dr Ravinder and her team had started installing artificial nest boxes to provide vital nesting sites for Kinabatangan hornbills.

Just 4 years later, in 2017, the team recorded the first-ever successful fledgling of a wild rhinoceros hornbill chick from an artificial nest box.

A rhinoceros hornbill taken by Ravinder’s husband and fellow HUTAN-member Sanjitpaal Singh. Hornbills likes big holes.
(Credit: Sanjitpaal Singh/

Hornbills only nest in large cavities in matured trees. This has become difficult as deforestation occurs, while regenerating trees are too young to have the natural cavities required for the hornbills to nest in.

Hornbills are notoriously choosy regarding their nests, so having one successfully adopt the artificial nest is a big success for the conservation of the species.

In fact, the boxes have attracted a new species of hornbills, the wrinkled hornbill, which is currently endangered. A female wrinkled hornbill, with its striking reddish casque, is seen exploring the nest in the video below.

The Marsh award, worth GBP4,000 (around RM21,400) came at just the right time to keep the project alive. The pandemic had caused a significant decrease in donations and grounded the project as well.

I hope our project receives more exposure and we get to connect with future long-term funders to help keep it going strong.

Dr Ravinder Kaur to CLP

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