Government officials and environmental groups yesterday celebrated the discovery of 121 lesser adjutant stork nests in Preah Vihear province, chalking the success up to a joint programme to hire locals to guard the nests.
Environment Ministry rangers and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) workers started counting nests in Prey Chhaeb and Kulen Prom Tep wildlife sanctuaries in October, the start of the breeding season, which lasts until the end of December.
The lesser adjutant population is rapidly declining as a result of hunting, egg harvesting and loss of habitat. Cambodia is home to the only substantial global population left, with roughly 1,500 to 3,500 pairs.
“The protection of breeding habitats is absolutely important to ensure the survival of this rare bird,” said Song Chansocheat, deputy head of the provincial environment department. WCS has worked with the Ministry of Environment to pay locals to guard nests until the eggs hatch and the chicks fly away.
Last year, workers recorded 149 lesser adjutant nests over the entire season.