- There is a continuing high demand for its red casque in the black market
- The ongoing conversion of its lowland rainforest habitat for plantations and agricultural lands
- The peculiar habits of the Helmeted Hornbills hinders fast breeding
Helmeted Hornbills are hunted down to extinction because its solid keratin casque dubbed as ‘red ivory’ can be sold at a very expensive price in the black market. Organized crime networks are willing to pay as much as US$6,000/kilo of the birds’ casques which are highly sought after carving materials for making jewellery, accessories, and ornaments.
As its natural range is being cleared to make way for plantations and agricultural lands, population recovery has also become a challenge. For one, this makes the Helmeted Hornbills more vulnerable and more easily accessible to poachers.
Second, this limits its main food source as it prefers an almost exclusive diet of figs.
Third, this makes it difficult to find an appropriate nest site which preferably should be on the top part of the tallest, oldest tree in the area.
Lastly, it has a slow breeding period, lays one or two eggs at a time only, and allots a considerable amount of time and effort to raise their young.