BirdLife International said the number of bird species detected in the Veal Kambor Community Protected Area in Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in Ratanakkiri province has decreased compared to last year, as only 35 species were recorded this year.

BirdLife said on August 16 that the sanctuary’s Veal Kambor Community Committee patrolled three times in July spending one night and two days in the forest each time to identify bird species.

“The community recorded 35 animal species and inspected 10 ponds. Notably, we saw a decrease in the number of animals in this community protected area compared to last year,” it said.

Bou Vorsak, Cambodia Programme Manager at BirdLife International, told The Post: “We used to record the nests of adjutants, but now we no longer see them. It is a decrease in bird numbers.”

He said the declining numbers included vulnerable bird species such as the lesser adjutant, white-shouldered ibis and some other species. The community used to record these species in the Veal Kambor area.

“The reason for the decline could be habitat disruption as more people have moved into the area,” he said.

The community continues to protect the birds by monitoring nests and educating people in the area to participate in the protection of these bird species.

“Park rangers are always monitoring the area to identify nests. We patrol nearby to protect them and near ponds for fear of the birds being trapped or poisoned,” he said.

BirdLife conservation groups have found 10 nests in the sanctuary this year, an increase from the eight that were found last year.

Neth Pheaktra, Secretary of State and spokesman for the Ministry of Environment, told The Post on August 15 that the ministry had partnered with a number of organisations, including BirdLife International and Wildlife Conservation Society to protect and preserve the giant ibis and white-shouldered ibis.

“Through the implementation of the Ibis Rice Project, which not only ensures the production of rice for household consumption, but also creates a sustainable supply chain to support the conservation of wildlife and participate with the government to reduce poverty.”

Pheaktra said this is to support and provide new options for people to improve their lives and at the same time conserve natural resources and protect wildlife.