Three nests of the critically endangered red-headed vulture have been found in Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary in Preah Vihear province.
According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, the three nests were found by conservationists from the Ministry of Environment, WCS and local villagers.
“These nest discoveries give hope that conservation efforts may save this species from extinction,” WCS said in a statement yesterday, noting that the national population was currently below 50. Mao Kheang, project coordinator for WCS in Preah Vihear province, said that it remains unclear how many babies may be in the nests because they were located high within some very tall trees.
“We have hired two guards in the village to watch and protect the nests,” he said.
Soeng Sang, one of the guards, said he was eager to protect the vulture nests because it enables him to earn an income to support his family while also conserving a rare species.
“I have spent much of my time staying near the nest site to prevent any disturbances,” he said. “I am committed to saving this bird for the next generation.”
The WCS statement added that increased levels of hunting, forest loss and land conversion, along with land encroachment and selective logging, have been negatively affecting the birds because they struggle to find nesting sites.