Jurong Bird Park's animal icon Sunny the hornbill turns eight

18 APR 2019
Sunny the hornbill, Jurong Bird Park’s animal icon, is turning eight this Saturday in a period where the park has stepped up efforts to protect the species.

Jurong Bird Park is home to the largest collection of Southeast Asian hornbills in the world, and representing the species is Sunny the hornbill, animal icon of the park. Sunny turns eight this Saturday and Jurong Bird Park hopes to raise awareness of the threats faced by wild hornbills.



Born on 20 April 2011, Sunny was introduced as the park’s icon in 2016 to be a beacon of hope for all threatened hornbill species and to raise awareness of the hornbill ivory trade, specifically of the Helmeted hornbill, whose casque is solid.

Hornbills are an important conservation focus, and Wildlife Reserves Singapore has been deeply involved in various aspects of hornbill conservation work in the region: hosting, facilitating and supporting conservation activities of the IUCN SSC* Helmeted hornbill Working Group, and supporting on-ground conservation efforts in Indonesia. Wildlife Reserves Singapore is also working closely with the IUCN SSC Hornbill Specialist Group, reinforcing its dedication to conserving threatened hornbill species across Southeast Asia through conservation planning approaches.  Closer to home, the park demonstrates a high standard of care for hornbills in our charge—most recently where a 3D-printed prosthetic casque served as a replacement for a Great hornbill who had cancer—a world’s first, in terms of specialist veterinary intervention.

Dr Sonja Luz, Director, Conservation, Research, and Veterinary Services, said, ““We often spot hornbills in Singapore flying wild and free, but we should remember that the Oriental Pied hornbill had all but disappeared from our island until conservation agencies got together to protect them. The same is happening in many parts of Southeast Asia where species such as the Helmeted hornbill are facing grave threats of extinction. 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.”

Jurong Bird Park today is home to the largest collection of Southeast Asian Hornbills in the world, with 11 species, out of a total of 18 hornbill species in the world. The parked opened in 1971 with just five hornbill species. Visitors can learn more about the threats hornbills face through Sunny’s daily appearances at the High Flyers show and getting up close with some of the park’s hornbills and their keepers at the daily hornbill Chit-Chat sessions.

*IUCN SSC refers to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission

Sunny, meet Sunny! Visitors can catch a glimpse of Sunny the mascot and Sunny the Great hornbill on stage together at the 11am High Flyers show at Jurong Bird Park on 20 April, for a special birthday celebration.



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