The number of wild birds dying in the Tuolporn Taley Boeung Sne Multiple-Use Area in Prey Veng province is declining after recent rainfalls, according to local authorities and community members. The cause of the deaths is suspected to be water pollution, chemicals, old age and disease.

“From April 1 to April 6, the number of dead birds decreased to only between 35 and 57 a day. This is about 150 less compared to March 21-22, when there were more than 200 deaths a day,” chief of Tuolporn Taley preservation community Puth Bou said on April 6.

He added that his team collected 50 carcasses on April 2 and between 35 and 57 the following days to April 6. The carcasses were destroyed in a pit about 500m from where the dead birds were found.

An investigation by the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries on March 24 revealed that bird carcasses contained the A/H5N1 virus.

“It’s very lucky that so far the virus has not spread to local animals like pigs, ducks and hens,” Bou said.

Community member Kang Thoeurn said 20 villagers had volunteered to collect the carcasses and destroy them to prevent further spread of the disease.

“We are collecting carcasses every day and also planting about 200 trees to establish a bird habitat,” he said.

Ba Phnom district governor Tep Phearun said on April 6 that volunteer work from the community helped to reduce the spread of the virus and bird deaths. He hoped that no more birds would die in future.

“Currently, less than 60 birds die a day. In total, 1,556 birds had been collected and destroyed from March 17 to April 6,” he said, adding that the 1,556 birds did not include others that died in the deep forest where it is too difficult to retrieve any carcasses.