Four wading bird species of concern were detected by a grid of motion-sensitive camera traps deployed from June 14-30 in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province, the Ministry of Environment reported on August 26.

The camera trap network was installed by a research team from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WSC) Cambodia to monitor the presence of wildlife and study their behaviour, movement patterns and welfare, as part of the Cambodia’s Protected Area System (Campas) project, the ministry noted.

The grid was deployed for 17 days, which is a fairly normal duration. As noted by World Wide Fund For Nature, camera trap batteries last for about 36 exposures – two weeks to a month – given that the flash must remain charged and ready to shoot 24/7.

Listed by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) category of threatened species, the birds captured were the “Near Threatened” woolly-necked stork (Ciconia episcopus), “Vulnerable” lesser adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus) and sarus crane (Antigone antigone), and the “Critically Endangered” giant ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea), according to the ministry.

“These rare birds are especially scarce in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary. Case in point, the research team reportedly encountered just five sarus cranes – a vulnerable species that has global value, brought to the fore by its listing on the IUCN Red List,” it said.

Sarus crane (Antigone antigone). WCS

It affirmed that the research team and park rangers are pulling out all the stops to protect these bird species of concern, especially their nests during the breeding and nesting seasons from June to November.

The ministry appealed to the public to join hands in protecting these birds – including their nests, eggs and chicks – other wildlife species and their habitats, by refraining from hunting, setting up snares and other traps, using poisons or consuming bushmeat.