Our mandate is to reverse the decline of the Southern Ground-Hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri) population by 2020. This long-lived, slow-breeding bird is threatened primarily by habitat loss, poisoning and persecution yet is revered by several groups as having important cultural significance - the rain bird. Its booming, thunder-like, call was once common but the population is now in decline. It meets all the criteria for being considered 'endangered' and without conservation intervention, doomed to extinction in South Africa.
Our primary focus is the reintroduction programme. We take the second-hatched chick from wild nests (this chick is naturally doomed) for hand-rearing. The chick is then socialised with a free-roaming group to learn bush survival skills before it is released back into historic Ground-Hornbill ranges with a wild male as the leader. These new groups will then grow, breed, seed new areas and thus contribute to the wild population.