Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New sanctuary for threatened bird

New sanctuary for threatened bird

New sanctuary for threatened bird

sarus_cranes
Sarus cranes are seen in the Anlong Pring bird sanctuary in Kampot province’s Kampong Trach district last year.

The Cambodian government has issued a sub-decree that establishes a conservation area in Kampot province for Sarus Cranes, a vulnerable species that has gone extinct in multiple Asian nations.

The sub-decree was signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on January 6 and allots 217 hectares of wetlands in Kampot province’s Kampong Trach district as a reserve.

The area would protect the Sarus Crane subspecies sharpii, which mostly resides in the Kingdom but has seen population numbers dwindle to about 1,000.

Up to 30 percent of Cambodia’s Sarus Cranes reside in Kampong Trach during the dry season, using the wetlands as a feeding ground.

Men Soriyon, deputy director of the government’s Forest and Biodiversity Conservation Department, said the new reserve would help to maintain their food source.

“This protected area is for Sarus Cranes that have flown in from different places for finding food during the dry season,” said Men Soriyon.

“The main purpose of the sub-decree is to preserve and protect our cranes from dying or being killed in these areas.”

The sub-decree was the result of a nearly five-year long process spearheaded by BirdLife International, an organisation that previously worked with the government to establish a crane reserve at Boeung Prek Lapouv in Takeo province in 2007.

A statement from BirdLife said the process was lengthy because of the land’s proximity to Vietnam, “where rapid economic development has pushed up land prices”.

“This factor was the main reason why the designation process took so long, as local vested interests tried to thwart the process,” the statement read.

The Kampot province crane reserve is smaller than its Takeo province counterpart by more than 9,000 hectares.

Bou Vorsak, acting programme manager for BirdLife in Cambodia, said conservation areas could be beneficial to the government in terms of strengthening the country’s emerging market for eco-tourism.

“Many tourists like to go to Kep for the beach, and they can reach the [Kampot reserve] to see cranes within a half-hour,” said Bou Vorsak.

“It could be important as an eco-tourism site in the future. This can also bring income to the local community.”

Sarus Crane populations have been decimated in recent decades due to the degradation and loss of wetlands and the ingestion of pesticides.

Hunting has also played a factor in depleted numbers, with Bou Vorsak noting that “these are big birds and easy to hunt”.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Sarus Crane as a “vulnerable” species.

Other subspecies live in India and northern Australia in greater numbers, but the worldwide population is approximately 20,000.

Populations have gone extinct in Thailand and the Philippines.

MOST VIEWED

  • Mysterious century-old structure found at bottom of Angkor pond

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has discovered a mysterious 1,000-year-old structure of a wooden building at the bottom of a pond after the Angkor Wat temple’s conservation team completed restoring its northern cave. The deputy director at ANA’s Angkor International Research and Documentation

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 foreigners in Cambodia, the bulk being from the UK, have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly them out of the Kingdom. The petition is targeted at 15,000 foreigners. Among them are nearly 200 Europeans, the majority

  • Cellcard announces Cambodia’s first use of 5G to help Kingdom during Covid-19

    Cellcard on Friday announced Cambodia’s first use of 5G for a telemedicine service at four locations across Phnom Penh to help the Kingdom’s most critically ill during the Covid-19 outbreak. Cellcard, which is the only 100 per cent Cambodian-owned and "Proudly Khmer" mobile network

  • Health ministry warns against using virus-testing machines

    The Ministry of Health has threatened legal action against anyone who publicised their test results after using COVID-19 rapid testing machines. The ministry said such machines were not even approved or recognised for use by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It said test the results

  • Former CNRP activist nabbed for offering online English classes

    Authorities detained a high school teacher in Kampong Chhnang province on Thursday after he was caught conducting online classes despite the fact that schools had been ordered to close temporarily to prevent Covid-19 infections. Keo Thai teaches at Boribo High School in Kampong Chhnang and

  • National Assembly approves two coal-fired power plants

    The National Assembly (NA) unanimously approved draft laws paving the way for the construction of two coal-fired power plants worth $1.665 billion to supply 100 per cent of electricity required in the Kingdom by 2025. An NA member said at the session that the plants will be located