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Mabula Ground-Hornbill Chick Relocation Project


Dr Kyle-Mark Middleton

Senior coordinator - Mabula Ground-Hornbill Project

The collaboration between the Mabula Ground-Hornbill Project and The Bateleurs was a massive success. During the December period, three chicks, which would have died in the wild, were ‘harvested’ and flown (with massive thanks to The Bateleurs and Marlon Lewinsky) to the specialised Baobab ground-hornbill rearing facility.

The three chicks (named Caroline, Baobab Ridge, and Cruse) were all harvested from the greater Kruger area and were flown to Groblersdal, near to the rearing facility. Thanks to The Bateleurs team, the flights reduced the travel time significantly for the chicks and the Mabula Ground Hornbill Project team, meaning that the chicks could get the required care faster, and our team did not need to spend excessive time on the roads during the busy holiday season. Additionally, as a bonus, some of our team got to tag along on the flights and see the amazing views. For some, it was their first time flying in a smaller aircraft.

All three of the harvested chicks are alive, healthy, and set for reintroduction in the coming year. They are all currently approaching fledging age where they will be ringed and placed with some adult birds to learn ground-hornbill behaviours from their conspecifics.

In short, a very successful harvest that will contribute to expanding the range of the species and we are extremely grateful for this amazing collaboration.

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