Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Water birds make comeback in Battambang

Water birds make comeback in Battambang

A flock of painted storks perch in a tree in 2012. WCS
A flock of painted storks perch in a tree in 2012. WCS

Water birds make comeback in Battambang

Water bird numbers are making a big comeback in the Prek Toal conservation area on the Tonle Sap lake in Battambang province, the Wildlife Conservation Society said in a report released on Saturday.

The study, covering years 2013-2014, showed a rapid increase in the number of lesser adjutant storks, spot-billed pelicans, Asian openbills and others, starting in 2014. Widespread poaching had caused bird populations to decline in the 1990s, followed by a recovery, then another decline towards the end of the previous decade, according to WCS.

WCS Cambodia said that the recovery trend persisted throughout 2015, mainly due to strong anti-poaching measures by community members. Most of the 40 rangers who patrol the area or watch from treetop platforms used to be poachers themselves.

“All of the former poachers are now employed by the project, plus some additional local people,” said Simon Mahood, one of the authors of the study. These guardians work for the Ministry of Environment and are funded by WCS, USAID and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund.

According to Mahood, water birds regulate the entire aquatic community with their diet of fish, frogs and snails. “For us conservationists, they’re also a good indicator species for the health of the whole ecosystem,” he said.

Primate populations are also recovering, including the silvered langur and the long-tailed macaque. Otter sightings have increased as well.

In October, the 21,000-hectare Prek Toal area was designated as a Ramsar Site – named after the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. The status marks it as one of the most important wetlands in the world, due to its sheer biodiversity, according to the WCS.

MOST VIEWED

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading

  • PM warns EU and opposition on 34th anniversary of his rule

    HUN Sen reached the milestone of 34 years as Cambodian prime minister on Monday and used the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ring road around Phnom Penh to tell the international community that putting sanctions on the Kingdom meant killing the opposition. “Please don’t forget