Endangered greater adjutant chicks from 175 protected nests have successfully taken flight in Battambang’s Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary site this year, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced yesterday.
Growing as tall as 1.5 metres, the greater adjutant is the world’s largest species of stork, but only 800 to 1,000 mature birds currently exist worldwide, according to the WCS. Of those, about 150 to 200 pairs live in Prek Toal, which is the only greater adjutant breeding site in Southeast Asia and the second-largest in the world – after a colony of greater adjutants in Assam, India. WCS Communications Manager Eng Mengey said the organisation began protecting the Prek Toal nests in December and that the first chicks began to leave in April, with the last leaving at the end of last month.
Mengey said that 20 rangers from the local community worked with 20 Environment Ministry officials to patrol the area during the project. While chicks from 175 nests successfully took flight, poaching of greater adjutants continues outside the protected area, he said, and after the chicks leave ‘it is out of our control, they only come back during the breeding season’.