Animals at risk because of trade and superstitions

Explore the stories behind the Fantastic Beasts™: The Wonder of Nature exhibition. Discover how trade and superstitions threaten the natural world and the conservation efforts being made in response.

Occamy eggThe Natural History Museum

Threatened by trade

Newt writes that the magical Occamy lays eggs with shells made of the 'purest, softest silver'. In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them™, Newt tells his friend Jacob that Occamy nests are targeted by hunters who steal their valuable eggs.

'See, their shells are made of silver so they’re incredibly valuable... Their nests tend to get ransacked by hunters.'
– Newt Scamander, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them™ (film)

Carved helmeted hornbill casque Carved helmeted hornbill casqueThe Natural History Museum

Casque of a helmeted hornbill, carved in the 1800s
(Rhinoplax vigil)

Once widespread in the forests of Southeast Asia, the helmeted hornbill is being hunted to extinction for the hard, bony casque above its beak.

Like the Occamy's silver eggs, carved hornbill casques like this are highly valued in some countries. In recent years, this has led to a surge in hunting. Almost 3,000 casques have been seized in the last decade, but that is only a tiny part of the global illegal trade.

Conservationists are now working to enforce bans on hunting helmeted hornbills and trading their casques, and attempting to reduce demand for hornbill products.

Helmeted hornbills play an important role in tropical forests by spreading seeds from the figs they eat. The regenerated fruit trees provide food for many other species.

Erumpent hornThe Natural History Museum

Erumpent horn

In the wizarding world, the large, sharp horns of Erumpents are used as ingredients in potions.

In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them™, Newt writes that Erumpent populations are low, though does not explain how trade in their horns might impact this magical species.

Erumpent hornThe Natural History Museum

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™ – Part 1, wizard Xenophilius Lovegood denies keeping an Erumpent horn in his home. He claimed it came from a different creature.

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

Pangolin PangolinThe Natural History Museum

Sunda pangolin
(Manis javanica)

Pangolins are covered in hard scales made of keratin, which is also in our fingernails.

A pangolin's scales protect them from predators, but are also wrongly believed by some people to have healing properties. It is estimated that over a million pangolins have been killed in recent decades for their scales and meat.

PangolinThe Natural History Museum

From organising patrols to catch poachers to rescuing trafficked animals, many people are working together to keep these scaly mammals alive in the wild.

Credits: Story

For more information and to book tickets to the exhibition, visit the Museum's website.

To find out more about the Wizarding World, visit

WIZARDING WORLD and all related trademarks, characters, names, and indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s21)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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