The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Cambodia recently confirmed the successful rescue of a Bengal florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis), identified as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
The female bird, previously unable to fly due to ill health, is now showing significant signs of recovery thanks to the intervention of wildlife experts, WCS said.
On August 1, the organisation revealed that the bird’s saviour was a local farmer, Chin Sothea. Living in Srah Sambour village in Kampong Thom province’s Taing Kork district, Sothea discovered the ailing florican on July 25.
These critically endangered species is primarily found in the Tonle Sap Basin floodplains, an area teeming with unique biodiversity.
“Worn out and unable to fly, the bird was taken in by Sothea who reported the situation to our team based in the Tonle Sap landscape for emergency rescue the next day,” said WCS.
The conservation organisation, in partnership with the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), immediately set about rescuing and rehabilitating the bird.
“She was transferred to the rescue centre on July 26 at 11pm. Following the diligent care and treatment from the ACCB veterinarians, her condition has improved markedly, though her legs are still unable to walk properly, requiring further care and observation,” it said.
WCS highlighted the instrumental role communities play in conserving natural resources and endangered wildlife, saying those who understand, love and actively engage in these efforts are gratefully recognised.
Neth Pheaktra, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment, expressed his excitement and gratitude to those who assisted in the bird’s rescue and recovery.
He encouraged continued cooperation between the public and the government in safeguarding such critically endangered species for future generations.
“This intervention not only aids in the protection of endangered species in Cambodia but also demonstrates the capabilities and efforts of our conservation teams and livestock officials in preserving natural resources,” he said.
The ministry noted that the Northern Tonle Sap Protected Landscape is currently the only sanctuary in Southeast Asia that hosts the Bengal florican.
The species requires the collective protection and conservation efforts of all stakeholders, particularly those inhabiting the bird’s breeding area.
The female florican’s rescue and ongoing recovery further highlights the crucial importance of conservation efforts, such as those spearheaded by local organisations like WCS and the ACCB.