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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - From KR base to birdhouse

From KR base to birdhouse

A former Khmer Rouge base in Banteay Meanchay is to be given to the birds.

The base and its irrigation dam at Ang Trapang Thmar is a dry season refuge for the

Serus Crane - a species of bird endangered world wide and till recently thought to

be extinct in Cambodia till they were discovered following the end of the war with

the KR.

The Serus is one of the highest flying birds in the world and is also known for its

ability to fly long distances.

Also found living at the reservoir were Greater Adjutants, Bengal Florican, Black

Neck Storks, Wild Duck and other endangered species.

The discovery has prompted the Government to put in motion moves to have the area

protected under a Royal Conservation Decree signed by the King.

"When we saw the Serus Crane still existed in Cambodia we were so proud,"

said Soun Phalla, a wildlife protection officer in the area.

He hoped that they would now be able to find funding from overseas to assist in the

conservation of the species.

Conservationists have said the move is urgent because there has been an upsurge in

hunting in the area with traders offering high prices for live Cranes - higher even

than for baby tigers.

Meanwhile people living in the proposed conservation area have said they would be

happy to move to make way for the wildlife but they would want Government assistance

in finding new homes and some assistance until their first crops were ready for harvest.

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