Dissecting Demand for Critically Endangered Hornbill Products: Linking Anatomy, Materials, & Social Sciences for Wildlife Conservation

Project: Research

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Asia accounts for a huge portion of the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT), which poses a measurable threat to biodiversity and extinction of targeted species. Enforcement is hampered by poor communication among disciplines that understand the species, the product materials they yield, and consumers that purchase them. Our project remedies this with an integrated, multi-disciplinary investigation of helmeted hornbill, whose beak/casque is increasingly harvested for carving ornaments. By combining anatomical study of casque architecture, with characterization of casque materials and how these shape online trade for the species, we will develop actionable tools for identification of seized hornbill material, an understanding of market drivers and nuances, as well as insights into a high-performing biomaterial and the biology/physiology of a critically endangered species. The collaboration creates a new area of strength for CityUin wildlife conservation materials science, linking several Key Research Areas


Project number7020042
Grant typeSIRG
Effective start/end date1/05/22 → …