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

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer