The Ground-Hornbill's critical walk to freedom
Filmed by Eelco Meyjes
         A magic moment captured...
The Ground-Hornbill's critical walk to freedom
        ...see history in the making


Ann Turner : Founder and coordinator of the Ground-Hornbill Research and Conservation Project.

" Well done, Eelco, it is a really nice film ,and you have put it together so well and with such sensitivity and desire to have it correct. Nick ( project research officer ) and I just looked at it very critically and loved it ...this documentary gives viewers the opportunity to see egg hatching and history being made . This succes story is being celebrated world wide ..."

Shaun Wilkinson CEO Umgeni River Bird Park .

." is excellent, very impressive.Well done ,it really wraps up years of work in a professional manner and giving recognition to those involved . It has highlighted the plight of the Ground-Hornbill and also demonstrated that something can be be done about it ,with a succesful outcome ....thank you for capturing it for posterity "

John Catchpole . UK Parrots magazine

" Eelco Meyjes has a passion for preserving our flora and fuana and could not resist getting involved in making a documentary on the conservation of this facinating creature "

The Southern Ground-Hornbill ( Bucorvus leadbeateri )

Threatened with extinction " The Ground-Hornbill's critical walk to freedom " is a truly inspiring conservation story. Produced by Birds of a Feather and sponsored by W W F THE GREEN TRUST and Sasol this documentary tells the remarkable and poignant story of how Ann Turner founded the Ground-Hornbill Research and Conservation project at Mabula Game Reserve 12 years ago.

With less than 1500 birds left in the South African wild something urgently needed to be done to try and save the species from possible extinction and to ensure that its eventual walk to freedom has every chance of success.

What you will see in the documentary :

  • A background to the tribal custom associated with the species

  • Adult and juvenile identification

  • The reasons for the birds threatened status

  • Key observations from the wild

    a) The species has a very slow reproductive cycle
    b ) Groups consist of 2 to 8 birds with only one Alpha female
    c ) Females only reach sexual maturity at 8 and 10 years
    d ) The second chick always dies from starvation in the nest
    e ) Only one chick is raised to adulthood every 9 years

  • How the Ground-Hornbill Research and Conservation project was started by Ann Turner

  • Key learning's from the projects early days

  • Harvesting of second chicks from the wild

  • The need to start a captive breeding programme

  • Artificial incubation and hatching of young chicks

  • Ghost feeding chicks with Ground- Hornbill look alike puppets

  • Preparing young birds for their release back into the wild

  • Erection of artificial nestboxes in the wild

  • The use of telemetry equipment

  • Foster parents adopting newly released young birds

  • Ground-Hornbills in full flight

  • World's first video footage of released Ground-Hornbills nesting in the wild
Harvesting of the second chick in Kruger
A day old second chick from Kruger
Ghost feeding a chick using a puppet bird

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