Sunny the hornbill to mark 8th year with special event

Sunny the hornbill (above) was named Jurong Bird Park's icon in 2016 to represent the threatened species and raise awareness of the hornbill ivory trade.
Sunny the hornbill (above) was named Jurong Bird Park's icon in 2016 to represent the threatened species and raise awareness of the hornbill ivory trade.PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Jurong Bird Park's animal icon, Sunny the hornbill, will have a special birthday celebration as he turns eight tomorrow.

Born in 2011, Sunny was named as the park's icon in 2016 to represent the threatened hornbill species and raise awareness of the hornbill ivory trade.

Visitors to the park will be able to join in the celebration by singing a birthday song for Sunny and getting a glimpse of the bird with a birthday cake made up of fruits at the 11am High Flyers show tomorrow.

Sunny the hornbill's birthday falls during a period when the 48-year-old park is stepping up its efforts to protect the species, said park operator Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) in a statement yesterday.

WRS has been involved in various aspects of conservation work in the region.

These include hosting, facilitating and supporting conservation activities of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission's helmeted hornbill working group, and supporting on-ground conservation efforts in Indonesia.

WRS has also been working with the commission's hornbill specialist group, to further its conservation efforts for the threatened hornbill species across South-east Asia.

 
 

WRS said Jurong Bird Park demonstrates a high standard of care for the hornbills in its charge.

The park is home to the largest collection of South-east Asian hornbills in the world, with 11 species.

There are 18 hornbill species in the park today, up from five when it opened in 1971.

In September last year, a great hornbill which had cancer received a 3D-printed prosthetic casque, which was a world first in terms of specialist veterinary intervention, said WRS.

Dr Sonja Luz, its director of conservation, research and veterinary services, said: "We need to rally behind these incredible birds.

"Through our animal icon Sunny the hornbill, who turns eight on Saturday, we hope to reach out to the public and raise awareness of the plight of hornbills in the wild and from there, hope to trigger conservation action," she said.

Visitors can learn more about the threats hornbills face through Sunny's daily appearances at the High Flyers show.

They can also get up close with some of the park's hornbills and their keepers at the daily Hornbill Chit-Chat sessions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2019, with the headline 'Sunny the hornbill to mark 8th year with special event'. Print Edition | Subscribe