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Nesting instincts

Nineteen nests of Cambodia’s critically endangered national bird, the giant ibis, have been discovered in Preah Vihear province, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced yesterday. Conservationists with the group said 14 nests were found in the Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary and five were found in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary.

‘We expect to find new nests of this species in both sanctuaries because its breeding period is between June and September,’ said Thong Sokha, the wildlife research and monitoring team leader for the WCS and the Ministry of Environment in Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary. ‘Our team is now working closely with local communities to monitor those recorded nests and search for new ones in both sanctuaries.

Experts estimate that there are just a few hundred giant ibises left in the world. About 99 percent of the global population of the bird is estimated to live in Cambodia.

The giant ibis has been threatened by hunting, egg collecting, wetland drainage and deforestation. WCS has been working with the Ministry of Environment to save the birds by incentivising locals to locate and protect nestlings, promoting awareness about the species and protecting nesting trees.

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