The number of Oriental Pied Hornbills, a rare bird species protected in China, has declined sharply in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, due to deforestation and hunting, an environmentalist said Tuesday.
The population of the large bird has dropped by more than 40 percent to just around 50 birds over the past ten years in Xidaming Nature Reserve which is home to half of the region's hornbills, Liu Zhongqi, president of Guangxi's Wildlife Conservation Society.
Liu made the comments at an international seminar to discuss how best to protect the endangered bird, held in the regional capital of Nanning,
Environmentalists blamed the sharp population decline on shrinking natural forests and hunting, said Liu.
Even though poaching has decreased after Guangxi launched a program in 2007 to protect the endangered bird, the species still faces extinction and needs more protection, Liu said.
Oriental Pied Hornbill, one of five kinds of hornbills found in China, also lives in neighboring Yunnan Province and Tibet Autonomous Region.
The bird also can be found in the subtropical moist lowland forests of southeast Asia.