Wildlife and wild places are worth fighting for. The WCS community is made up of wildlife champions like you, fighting to preserve a future for iconic animals and irreplaceable habitats. For over 125 years, WCS has worked to discover and understand the natural world, and to inspire communities to protect endangered species
This year, WCS's Run for the Wild is inspired by hornbills. These spectacular birds are native to Asia and Africa, and many species mate for life. Known as the farmers of the forest, helmeted hornbills are very effective seed dispersers, playing a vital role in their ecosystems. With their striking appearance, complex social structures, and diverse variety of colors and species, these animals are iconic and beloved. They're also endangered.
Hornbills are threatened by deforestation, and by poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. Helmeted hornbills are hunted for their solid red casques, carved into "red ivory", which has caused the species to disappear entirely from parts of its range.
WCS is working with partners in multiple African and Asian countries to protect hornbills, and habitats vital to this and countless other threatened and endangered species. In particular, WCS collaborates closely with the Government of Indonesia through our Wildlife Crime Unit, and our field programs in that country and others within the hornbill's range. The world knows about the ivory crisis threatening the future of elephants. The "red ivory" crisis that threatens hornbills also requires swift action.
You can visit hornbills in the Bronx Zoo's World of Birds (celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022!) as well as the Carter Giraffe Building, where they share an exhibit with dwarf mongooses, demonstrating the symbiotic relationship these very different animals share in the wild. You can watch the complex social interactions between these birds, hear their unmistakable calls, and learn more about the threats they face in the wild, the adaptations that help them to survive, and the work WCS is doing to protect them.
Animals around the world are going extinct 10,000 times faster than ever before. Your support will give them a fighting chance. Many hornbill species face threats from human activity and habitat loss and fragmentation. But WCS research has shown that by working with local communities, governments, and responsible business, and with the support people like you who care about the future of wildlife, we can retain and protect critical resources for birds such as hornbills to ensure they continue soaring, whooshing, and cackling over the forest canopies of Africa and Asia.