In the two weeks around the end of August, there were two attempts to smuggle hundreds of body parts of hornbills out of the country. The bird is West Kalimantan’s mascot and included in Appendix 1 (most endangered) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
As many as 285 bills from enggang gading or helmeted hornbills were confiscated in the smuggling attempts, which were foiled by the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) of West Kalimantan. The center described the number as unusually large, and has doubtless caused a reduction in the male hornbill population.
The birds’ casques, bound for China, are processed into objects of “art” like sword handles and other items. Middlemen buy them for between Rp 1 million (US$105) and Rp 3 million a piece, while on the international market the price will multiply.