Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NGOs decry vulture decline

NGOs decry vulture decline

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Vultures pick at an animal carcass on the Kingdom’s eastern plains. WCS Cambodia

NGOs decry vulture decline

Vultures in the Kingdom are facing an increasingly high risk of extinction as the birds have shown a 50 per cent decline in numbers since the late 2000s, a joint announcement from environmental organisations said on Saturday, quoting a report.

The report showed that declines have become particularly noticeable across forestlands in the country’s eastern plains, where historically as many as 30 animals were recorded during a single count. Current surveys often top out at 10.

“It is of great concern that only 121 of these majestic birds were recorded in this year’s national census, the lowest number on record since 2003. Recent assessments indicate that poisoning is the major threat to vulture populations in Cambodia,” the report continued.

Officials cited in the document say that the country’s three vulture species, the red-headed, slender-billed and white-rumpled, are all on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list, indicating they are critically endangered.

“Northern Cambodia is the only place in Southeast Asia where vultures can still be found in large numbers. Tourists come to see them at our vulture restaurant at Dong Phlet in Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary.

“But during the past five years, at least 30 vultures have been killed in Cambodia due to widespread indiscriminate use of deadly poisons and pesticides across the country, which is severely impacting the vulture population and also threatening human lives,” said Simon Mahood, a senior technical advisor at the Kingdom’s Wildlife Conservation Society.

He said that besides poisoning, Cambodia’s vultures suffer from habitat loss and food shortages caused by low numbers of wild ungulates (hoofed animals) and domestic cattle.

Increased levels of forest loss, land conversion and poaching as a result of economic land concessions, land encroachment and selective logging have negatively impacted the birds through a loss of nesting sites and reduction in natural prey availability as snaring for wild meat has dramatically increased across Cambodia.

“Results of vulture censuses in the last five years show a worrying trend, as less than 130 birds were counted in 2017 and 2018,” said Bou Vorsak, Cambodia program manager of BirdLife International.

MOST VIEWED

  • First deportees of the year touch down in Cambodia

    Twenty-five Cambodian-Americans landed in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, marking the first such deportations of the year. “On Wednesday, US law enforcement authorities deported 25 Cambodian nationals that immigration judges determined had no legal basis to remain in the US,” said Arend Zwartjes, spokesperson for the US

  • Qatar Airways to connect Doha and Siem Reap town

    Qatar Airways Company QCSC has announced a new route connecting Qatar’s capital Doha with Siem Reap, a move hailed by local officials as a significant step to boost tourist numbers. A Qatar Airways representative, speaking at the Kuwait Aviation Show, announced on Thursday that

  • Sokha defence denies Tech’s claims

    ON DAY two of Kem Sokha’s treason trial, lawyers for the government said the defence had raised questions in an attempt to allow their client to make a public statement and a conclusion to the case, something his legal team denied. Ky Tech, a

  • Cambodian general visits Myanmar to enhance national defence cooperation

    Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) commander-in-chief Vong Pisen is now in Myanmar leading a delegation that aims to improve ties, particularly in national defence, with the fellow Asean member. The timing of Pisen’s four-day visit to the Southeast Asian neighbour is highly symbolic, with

  • Probe underway after wreckage of drone with Chinese characters found

    Air Force Command spokesman Prak Sokha said on Sunday that investigations are underway regarding the wreckage of a drone that was recovered in Koh Kong province’s Koh Sdech commune in Kiri Sakor district. The wreckage has been taken to the capital for further examination,

  • Sokha’s treason trial begins

    The treason trial of Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Kem Sokha began at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday with the presentation of a two-minute video clip. The footage, which was the basis of the charge against him, was dismissed by