Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Heat, water shortages affecting rare bird life

Heat, water shortages affecting rare bird life

Cambodia’s critically endangered national bird, the giant ibis, forages for food within the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in 2014. Birdlife Cambodia
Cambodia’s critically endangered national bird, the giant ibis, forages for food within the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in 2014. Birdlife Cambodia

Heat, water shortages affecting rare bird life

Conservationists are expressing concern that some of the Kingdom’s endangered birds are not reproducing this year due to extreme heat stress, inability to find enough food and habitat loss from wildfires and human encroachment.

“They aren’t able to gain enough weight” to nest and lay eggs, said Ross Sinclair, the country director of Wildlife Conservation Society.

Affected species include the white-shouldered ibis, the giant ibis and the sarus crane, which range from vulnerable to critically endangered, according to Sinclair.

“This drought is not contributing to their recovery,” Sinclair said. “Increased stress on [endangered] animals is not good news for conservation.”

Meanwhile, BirdLife International program manager Bou Vorsak said Cambodia’s endangered vultures are losing nesting trees due to logging and fires on the Eastern Plains and along the Sesan River.

Vultures are especially needed this year to clean up the many animal corpses resulting from the record heat and water shortage, Vorsak said. By scavenging, vultures clean up the environment and reduce the chance of insect-borne disease.

While WCS and BirdLife don’t expect endangered ibis, crane and vulture numbers to actually decline this year, they don’t hope to see much of an increase year either.

Endangered bird populations had been increasing almost every year over the past decade until the recent interruption.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all