Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Experts say let bird fly

Experts say let bird fly

A Himalayan griffon
A Himalayan griffon vulture photographed in mid-flight in 2009. A Himalayan vulture was found in Kampot province yesterday. JAN REURINK

Experts say let bird fly

Wildlife experts fear for the health of a migratory vulture from Central Asia after it was captured by villagers in Kampot province’s Teuk Chhou district and taken to a notorious private zoo.

The Himalayan vulture, also known as the Himalayan griffon, which rarely visits Cambodia, was caught last week by a young villager in Koh Touch commune.

Initially destined for the cooking pot, the vulture has since been sent to the province’s Teuk Chhou zoo, owned by Cambodia’s National Committee for Disaster Management Vice President Nhim Vanda.

Commune police chief Kouch Chan Suy said he ordered the 12-kilogram bird be put in captivity so “other people and the next generations” could see it.

“The villagers wanted to sell it for cooking, but I said no and told them they would face punishment,” he said.

However, wildlife experts have strongly criticised the decision to give the bird to the zoo, which was described as “horrific” in a 2011 Post article.

“If the bird can be released, it should be released,” Birdlife International’s Sum Phearun said, adding he feared the vulture would be kept indefinitely against its best interests.

“It is stressed; it’s away from its nesting grounds and its own kind.”

Jonathan Eames, also of Birdlife International, said the vulture was likely suffering from fatigue and lack of food, given it had flown several thousand kilometres.

He said it was imperative the bird be given to experts quickly.

“Vultures that undergo rehabilitation and are introduced into a suitable environment can make a full recovery,” he said.

However, Wildlife Alliance’s Nick Marx said he doubted the vulture would be released.

Nhim Vanda was unreachable for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not