"Species of the year 2020": Hill myna

Its livestock in Asia has plummeted significantly over the past years - some species are on the verge of extinction. That is why the Zoological Society for  the Conservation of Species and Population has chosen the hill myna as "Species of the Year" 2020.

When a star's talent puts himself in danger


10 to 20 years ago hill myna could often be found in German pet stores. These birds were always captured from the wild because breeding the animals is complicated and the import of the birds was much cheaper. However, this suddenly changed when the population in the countries of origin suffered a severe drop in population and the hill myna was therefore placed in Appendix II of the Washington CITES Convention on Species Protection in 1997. The EU also banned the import of wild birds in 2005.

The amazing talent of the hill myna to imitate voices eclipses that of many parrots. But this linguoistic talent also gets them in trouble. Because of that hill mynas are a very popular and a worldwide much-traded bird species especially in Asia which results in a lonely life in mostly small cages for them. In some countries hill mynas are also sold as a delicacy which reduces the stocks even further.

Thus today some species are on the verge of extinction caused by humans .

The challenge of choosing a partner

Hill mynas are monogamous and very demanding when it comes to choosing a suitable partner. That is why it is a challenge even for experienced zoos and breeders to breed the intelligent birds. It is therefore not surprising that this particularly talented "star" can hardly be seen even in zoological institutions. In order to make a concrete contribution to the preservation of these birds under human care and to be able to meet hill mynas in zoos more freequently again a "Beo Dating" Center is being set up in the Marlow Bird Park as part of the "Zoo Animal of the Year" campaign.


The compilation of harmonizing couples requires sound expertise, a greater selection of suitable individuals and several enclosures in which the newly found couples can retreat. The European Ex situ Program (EEP) for Beos is coordinated at Vogelpark Marlow - it is the ideal place to offer unaired beos the chance to find their "great love".

The resulting couples are then handed over to participating zoos and - as compatible breeding couple - will hopefully provide more beo offspring so that the stocks  can recover in zoological gardens.

Support for two conservation projects in Indonesia

In addition to finding a partner in Germany the " Species of the Year" campaign 2020 will also provide financial support for two beo conservation projects in Indonesia. However, the preconditions for immediate improved protection in the wild are very difficult. Therefore, a breeding aviary complex specially designed for the demanding needs of hill mynas is being built on the island of Java. There the highly endangered Tenggara hill myna and the endangered Nias hill myna in human care are given the chance of the continuation of their species.

The second project is located on the island of Nias. The local museum, the parish and the island's inhabitants want to build a conservation breeding center here to save the birds which are a cultural symbol of their island and even have its name. The species conservation campaign will promote the esthablishment of special tree nurseries to ensure that with native tree and shrub the hill myna species have sufficient fodder plants for later release.

With the "Species of the Year" campaign 2020 the two species conservation projects in the hill mynas' habitat will be directly and above all financially supported in order to prevent highly endangered species from extinction and to give them a perspective for a long-term survival in the wild.

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