In a collaborative effort to safeguard the bengal florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis) and other pivotal bird species, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Cambodia has initiated a significant community outreach meeting.

The most recent gathering took place at Kork Trabek and Koh Reas villages in Sralao commune of Kampong Thom province's Taing Kork district, with 139 participants.

This initiative aimed to foster public participation in bird conservation endeavours, contributing significantly to the enhancement of community livelihoods. The spotlight during the meeting shone brightly on several important bird species.

"The birds highlighted in the meeting were bengal florican, sarus crane, white-shouldered Ibis, yellow-breasted bunting, black-necked stork, greater adjutant, lesser adjutant, woolly-necked stork, among other important bird species," announced the representative.

Recently, the WCS Cambodia team in Kampong Thom province orchestrated a second field trip to the Bengal Florican Protected Area, promoting awareness with 150 participants from Chhouk Primary School.

The objective was to instill basic knowledge about conservation activities, with a particular focus on bengal floricans and other endemic bird species.

The WCS team further elaborated on the rationale behind establishing protected areas and the importance of safeguarding grasslands during this field trip.

They also highlighted how protected species directly contribute to community welfare.

Among the benefits highlighted were ample grassland for livestock and the potential for birdwatching tourism which can generate income for the development of schools and the wider community.

The effectiveness of the latter is evident in a community-funded bathroom facility, replete with two toilets and a washroom, erected through revenue from bird watching tours.

A lively Q&A session was held, and students were supplied with study materials and snacks, according to the UN-endorsed Our Tonle Sap project.