As a nod to its unique place in Singapore’s biodiversity, Jurong Bird Park has introduced Sunny the Hornbill as the park’s animal icon.
Starting with just five Hornbill species when the park opened in 1971, Jurong Bird Park today is home to the largest collection of Southeast Asian Hornbills in the world. Of the 18 Hornbill species in the park, 11 are native to Southeast Asia.
Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy CEO and Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore said, “We have elected the Hornbill as Jurong Bird Park’s animal icon rather than a single species as the park is home to Southeast Asia’s largest collection of Hornbills in the world. Whether it is the Great, Oriental Pied or Rhinoceros, they are all strong ambassadors for their wild cousins to bring forth the message of protecting biodiversity in our forests. This is especially crucial as species like the Helmeted Hornbill has been, in recent years, hunted to near extinction for the ivory in their solid casques.”
Jurong Bird Park has long been actively involved in hornbill conservation efforts. Locally, Oriental Pied Hornbills were not seen for 140 years prior to 1994. In 2005, Jurong Bird Park entered a collaboration dedicated to the breeding and conserving of these birds and today, Singapore is home to a thriving population of Oriental Pied Hornbills. In 2013, three Oriental Pied Hornbill eggs rescued from Pulau Ubin were successfully incubated and hatched at the park’s Breeding & Research Centre. This marked the world’s first successful incubation and hatching of an Oriental Pied Hornbill.