New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) In good news for wildlife conservationists, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has announced that 19 nests of the critically endangered giant ibis have been discovered in the Northern Plains of Cambodia in Preah Vihear province.
The community members and conservationists are working together under the Bird Nest Protection Program to protect these nests from human disturbances and other threats.
The giant ibis, Cambodia’s national bird, is listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and occurs only in Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
About 99 per cent of the global population, estimated to contain 194 mature individuals, lives in Cambodia, making it the most important country in the world for giant ibis conservation.
“As of July this year, our research team has recorded 19 nests of the giant ibis; 14 located in Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary and five in the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary,” an official statement quoting Thong Sokha, Wildlife Research and Monitoring Team Leader for the WCS in Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary, said.
“We expect to find new nests of this species in both sanctuaries because its breeding period is between June and September. Our team is now working closely with local communities to monitor those recorded nests and search for new ones in both sanctuaries,” he added.
The WCS, in collaboration with Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment, has been involved in the conservation of the giant ibis and its natural habitat in the Northern Plains of Cambodia through various activities.
These include the Bird Nest Protection Program in which the local people and contracted community wildlife rangers are rewarded with direct conservation payments’ when they locate nests and receive a bonus if nestlings successfully fledge.
The program also promotes awareness about the importance of this species and installs protective measures on nesting trees that prevent small carnivores from eating eggs.
“These latest findings represent the continued importance of the Northern Plains landscape in Preah Vihear Province for conserving this critically endangered bird,” said Alistair Mould, WCS’s Technical Advisor to the Northern Plains of Cambodia.
The WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education and inspiring people to value nature.