Since 2004 tribal peoples in Vazhachal area in India have been operating as tribal guards of critical tree species for hornbill's nests, in collaboration with the Forest Department.
Now, the programme has been replicated for multi-species monitoring and ecosystem conservation in four tribal settlements - Sholayar-Powerhouse, Sholayar-Anakkayam, Malakkappara and Vazhachal. “Instead of monitoring just the hornbill ecosystem, the people in the four settlements have been trained to conserve plants such as Kunthirikkam (Black Dammer) and Kattujathikka (Wild Nutmeg) which are endangered species important in their everyday life and culture,” says K H Amitha Bachan, Director, Western Ghats Hornbill Foundation.
The next step is to create a website, where the public can upload sightings of the hornbill, and ancillary information about their nesting habits. Citizen monitoring of biodiversity such as this can contribute towards conservation of rare and endangered species.