If we kill off the wild, then we are killing a part of our souls. – Jane Goodall
We are lucky to see Ground Hornbills fairly often at Shindzela. There is a Ground Hornbill nesting log on the property. This log is built into tree cover, and is there to support the breeding efforts of the endangered Ground Hornbill.
The Timbavati Reserve is working on a Ground Hornbill Project throughout the Reserve:
Official name: The APNR Ground Hornbill Research and Conservation project
Conservation Requirements of the Southern Ground Hornbill: Demographic, Ecological and Behavioural consequences of Cooperative Breeding in a long lived terrestrial bird.
Surely one of the most endearing African birds, the Ground Hornbill is a gregarious, turkey sized bird with mainly terrestrial habits. It hunts lizards and snakes by sight, using its large eyes to spot prey. It has a curious habit of displaying its kills, often striding about with prey in its beak for several minutes, as if flaunting its hunting prowess.
The Ground Hornbill population has been steadily declining and a study has been commissioned to find out why this is happening and what steps can be taken to improve the lot of this species.
The Transboundary Elephant Research Programme represents the South African branch of Save the Elephants. The project officially started in 2003, but draws on data collected over more than a decade thereby representing a long-term study, focused on understanding the motivation behind elephant movements from core conservation areas such as the Kruger National Park (KNP) to the North (Zimbabwe), the East (Limpopo National Park in Mozambique) and the West (Associated Private Nature Reserves).
Previous and ongoing research efforts have resulted in an extensive individual elephant identification database for the western (more than 1500 elephants identified since 1996) and the northern study site (more than 100 bulls and 11 independent breeding herds have been identified since 2008). We have obtained an improved understanding of elephant ranging behaviour through the collaring and recollaring of 53 elephants during 75 collaring operations in the western, eastern and northern regions of the KNP.
A long term database of elephant impact on selective trees started in 2004 in order to monitor changes in the survival rates of large trees over time and the consequential influence that these changes may have on other species (tree nesting birds). We monitor 2971 individually labelled trees to determine their survival rate. Since 2008, 62 large trees used by southern ground hornbills and 102 trees used by raptors and white backed vultures as nesting sites are being monitored to understand the influence of elephant impact on these nesting sites. We also experiment with large tree protection methods (wire netting) to foster positive human-elephant interactions as large trees are of aesthetic importance to landowners, tourists and managers alike.
(Information courtesy Timbavati Reserve)