Prof. Pilai Poonswad's Profile and her work on hornbill in southern Thailand were interviewed and published in Science Magazine, 3 August 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5838, pp. 592 – 593. Biologist Pilai Poonswad has earned praise for reaching out to southern Thailand's alienated Islamic communities in an effort to observe and preserve hornbills. Prof. Pilai Poonsawad from Faculty of Science, Mahidol University who received ROLEX Award for Enterprise and Chevron Conservation Award in 2006 was also awarded BIOTEC Annual Research-team Strengthening Grants in 2002 for a high quality research project and outstanding research team.
The Thailand Hornbill Project was initiated after Prof. Pilai Poonswad spent a brief spell in 1978 acting as a guide to a BBC film crew in Khao Yai where they were making a documentary film. Then, The Hornbill Research Foundation was set up following a project initiating research into the ecology of hornbills by the faculty of science, Mahidol University in 1980. The study was begun in Khao Yai National Park and expanded to include forests in western and southern regions. Apart from the biology and ecology of hornbills, research was also made into their range and status throughout the country. In July 1993, "The Hornbill Research Foundation" was set up officially.