For the first time in five years, a nest with seven eggs of the endangered white-winged duck was discovered in the Northern Plains of Cambodia, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced yesterday.
The nest, located inside a tree hollow about 12 metres above the ground, was found by three farmers who spotted a white-winged duck on Sunday in the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in Preah Vihear province.
“We saw a white-winged duck on the tree while walking to the rice field. We reported to WCS team because we know it is an endangered bird,” In Long, one of the farmers who made the discovery, was quoted as saying in a WCS statement.
Only an estimated 250 to 1,000 white-winged ducks remain worldwide, but little is known about the population numbers in Cambodia.
Northern Plains Technical Adviser for WCS, Alistair Mould, said in an email that the discovery encourages conservationists to step up efforts to protect this rare species.
“[The] white-winged duck is globally endangered so more protection is needed to [save] the species from extinction,” he said. “This finding highlights the importance of [the] Northern Plains of Cambodia for globally endangered wildlife conservation.”
As part of the Bird Nest Protection Programme, the three villagers have been paid to guard the nest until the ducklings fledge, WCS Communications Officer Eng Mengey said.
According to the statement, the programme is a payment scheme that rewards local people living in two protected areas in the Northern Plains for locating, monitoring and protecting nests.
It adds that between 2002 and 2016, the programme has led to the protection of 3,813 nests and 6,806 fledglings over an area of more than 4,000 square kilometres.