Emeritus Professor Dr. Pilai Poonswad is a hornbill researcher from Thailand. This lady born in November 1946. She is the Biology Professor of Microbiology, Faculty of Science in Mahidol University, Thailand. She is a figure that represented Thailand for International Ornithologist Union and founding mother of Hornbill Research Foundation.
Prof Pilai Poonswad started her career to researching hornbill since 1978 in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand. After that, she built Thailand Hornbill Project to conduct the research of hornbill in 1979. In 2006 she achieved Laureate of Rolex Awards for Enterprise for her effort to save hornbill and its habitat. In the same year, she won the 52nd Annual Chevron Conservation Award.
See how quickly deforestation occurs in South Thailand, Prof Pilai feels she has to do something to halt the forest vanishing in Thailand. Conduct the cooperation with local community that live in the forest, Prof Pilai explained about the importance of save the forest. Furthermore, she also conduct any efforts to hornbill conservation. One of the effort is halt poaching activities by gave education to the people that usually work as a poacher and turn to become tour guide. Concept of ecotourism in hornbill habitat was be an effective way to save hornbill and its habitat. Many efforts she did for the hornbill conservation, and it brought her to get the epithet as “the great mother of hornbills”.