Love The Bengal Florican
Indian subcontinent, Cambodia
This 3-year-old male has got his courtship dance down. He can make his feathers puff the most, swoop the most elegantly, and make some pretty cool low humming. But it’s getting a bit depressing each time he migrates back to the breeding sites. His home has been changed from a beautiful wild wonderland to one covered in human farms with more weird species taking over. There aren’t too many of his kind left so he wonders if his dance will help the humans see him as an important thing to protect.
This critically endangered bustard is the only surviving member of the genus Houbaropsis. Only found in two populations, one in the Himalayas between India and Nepal and the other in Cambodia with a few individuals potentially in Vietnam, these birds are well known for their stunning courtship displays. The males who are smaller but have handsome black and white plumage which he shows off the best he can with choreographed strutting, display flights, and some head pumping to attract the attention of the ladies. This is the only time the birds come together, competing in groups of at least 7, but nicely spaced apart.
They live reclusive lives in subtropical riverine grassland where they breed near the end of the dry season, after which they migrate 100km to open forest. They are omnivores, feeding on insects, seeds, fruits, flowers, and even small lizards and snails.
Both populations are in danger with their biggest threats being habitat loss. Their homes are being drained, converted to agricultural land and plantations and having alien species introduced. Poaching for sport and food has thankfully been made illegal and has been reduced but not eliminated. There are also issues of humans and livestock trampling nests. There is estimated to be less than 1,000 of these birds remaining.
HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals.
With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.
To help protect these animals, please donate to the WWF: https://www.wwf.sg/
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. As one of WWF’s international hubs, WWF-Singapore supports a global network spanning over 100 countries. We work to meet key conservation goals, such as deforestation, haze pollution, food security, sustainable finance, sustainable consumption and illegal wildlife trade.
For more information, visit https://www.wwf.sg