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

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • 'Pandora Papers' expose leaders' offshore millions

    More than a dozen heads of state and government, from Jordan to Azerbaijan, Kenya and the Czech Republic, have used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a far-reaching new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the