FairWild, the Great Pied Hornbill and the Bibhitaki tree

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An iconic species of the forests of India’s Western Ghats, the Great Pied Hornbill is a bird that mates for life.

For the Great Pied Hornbill, trust and longevity are important: and they are to us, too, which is why we’re working to protect their nesting habitats through our FairWild certified programme.  

Every year the female finds a large hollow in a tree in which to build her nest; when she’s ready to lay her eggs she seals herself in by building a wall of faeces and bark.

For the next four months she relies entirely on the male to feed her - and her chicks – by tirelessly flying back and forth feeding fruit through a a small crack in the wall.

One of the only tree is big enough to provide a suitable nesting site for the Great Pied Hornbill is the bibhitaki tree. It is also the source of one of Ayurveda’s most valued ingredients: bibhitaki fruit – one of the three fruit used in our Triphala formula [Tri = three, Phal = fruit].

Unfortunately many of the most precious bibhitaki trees in the Western Ghats are under threat as they produce valuable timber and can be a tempting source of income for local landowners.

The fruit, which offers an alternative – and more sustainable – source of income, is rarely collected – mainly because the market is either too far away or the price is too low. This is where FairWild comes in.

By providing a reliable market and a premium price for the fruit, the local villagers are given a genuine incentive to protect these majestic bibhitaki trees.

A fair price for sustainably collected wild fruit is a win-win situation for all; the local people benefit, the bibhitaki trees are preserved, and we at Pukka can offer you the finest quality ingredients in our Triphala.

And let’s not forget the Great Pied Hornbill. This is a bird that spends its life collecting fruit and distributing seeds around the forest through its droppings. As such it is a central thread in the web of life within the forest ecosystem.

Keep the wild in you

Thank you for being part of this positive change, helping to protect wild plants and the animals and communities that rely on them by choosing to enjoy teas and supplements blended with incredible FairWild herbs.

To find out other ways you can help spread the word about FairWild, follow on Facebook and Twitter.

You can also explore ongoing issues through the official FairWild website and online toolkit and stay connected to where the ingredients in products you buy come from. If you’re not sure, ask your supermarket, local shop or favourite brand.

Meet the author

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Ben Heron, Sustainable Herbs Manager

My main responsibility at Pukka is to make sure the herbs we source are Pukka – in other words, that they are grown, collected and processed in ways that meet our sustainability, quality and Fair for Life standards. This means that I spend a lot of time visiting and working with our suppliers, and am often behind the camera taking photos and videos for the website. With a background in plant conservation, I am passionate about driving Pukka’s vision of ‘conservation through commerce’.

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