The Ministry of Environment has designated May 10 as the date to observe World Migratory Bird Day each year to raise awareness about the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats.
Migratory Bird Day in 2021 was held under the theme of Sing, Fly and Glide like birds.
Migratory birds are species that migrate twice per year. They travel between habitats on a seasonal basis between places where they enjoy advantages to their survival for part of the year and these migrations can span across many countries and even continents, with birds flying hundreds or thousands of kilometres to reach their destinations.
“So, the work of conserving these migratory birds calls for participation and collaboration between the various countries that they fly over and travel to,” the environment ministry said in a Facebook post.
Flyway is a term for an area where a lot of birds migrate through from the nest to resting areas and locations as they forage or hunt for food that is available seasonally.
There are currently nine flyways in the world and Cambodia is part of the East Asian–Australasian Flyway and so it became a member of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) – an organisation dedicated to protecting these habitats for migratory birds – in 2007.
“As a member, Cambodia has paid much attention to studying, educating and spreading the word about conserving migratory birds and their habitats. In 2019, the Anlong Pring nature reserve was recognised as part of the network of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway by the EAAFP,” the ministry said.
Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra told The Post in an interview that Cambodia has over 500 species of birds. The ministry has collaborated with Birdlife International, the Wildlife Conservation Society of Cambodia and the World Wide Fund for Nature to protect and conserve the birds.
“In the nature reserve areas, we take a yearly census of vultures – species that are rare. In all of Cambodia, there remained just 100 vultures when we took the census in 2020. Endangered ibises in Cambodia make up nearly 99 per cent of all those left on Earth, with only 400 of them here,” he said.
He added that the ministry and the partner organisations had protected their nests and had largely conserved the birds and their habitat in the Tonle Sap River area. The ministry had also planned to designate some new areas as protected where bird populations had begun to grow again.
“We conserve birds not only for protecting biodiversity, but also it is another means for development economically through sustainable eco-tourism which generates income for our people,” Pheaktra said.