LEARNING TO LIVE WITH OUR FOREST-DWELLING NEIGHBOURS
Human population growth and the expansion of development into forest regions has the potential to lead to human-orangutan conflict.
The helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil), or tajaku, as it is called by the Punan Aput Dayak communities in Long Sule and Long Pipa villages, is native to Sumatra and Kalimantan.
This striking bird is easily recognised by its uniquely-shaped and coloured head, and distinctive sound. Sadly, sightings of tajaku are becoming increasingly rare, due to the species being targeted by hunters. It is, therefore, a very special and memorable moment if you get to see one of these magnificent birds in the forest, in person.
For the Dayak community, the tajaku is a symbol of loyalty. According to stories from local people, when a female tajaku disappears or dies, her male partner will look for her for months, at the last location they visited together.
Helmeted hornbill, or tajaku (Photo credit: Abi)
In the past, the tajaku was hunted for its head and feathers, which were widely used by the Dayak community in traditional clothing and accessories. However, the residents of Long Sule and Long Pipa villages have abandoned the use of tajaku products, as they believe the tajaku is a sacred, traditional symbol that no amount of money can replace.
The elders in these villages educate and reiterate to the younger generation the importance of preserving nature and maintaining the tajaku population, so these magnificent birds will exist for generations to come.