Battambang’s Environment Department stated that the Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary, on Tonle Sap Lake, has seen a 30 per cent increase in bird population this year.
Kort Boran, director of the department, said on December 26 that this is due to tightening laws on bird and wild life protection, the decrease in illegal fishing, and a change in people’s behaviour. Nest monitoring showed that 20 per cent more foul hatched and 10 per cent more birds nested in the area.
It was a good year for attracting more birds from afar to Preak Toal because the early water rise offered more fish for the birds to feed on.
“For the year 2018, the Prek Toal area is almost free of crime, both the theft of birds’ eggs and fishing in protected areas. Superregional and local authorities have increasingly cracked down on illegal fishing and burned the perpetrators equipment.
“We often tell the people to help protect our endangered birds by not killing them. By no longer poaching they will make the area more attractive for visitors, and can earn money from tourism.” They seem to embrace the conservation of birds now that they know of its importance.
Prek Toal is a floating fishing village on the Tonle Sap Lake, next to flooded forests that harbour the myriad of endemic and migratory birds. Between December and March visitors to Preak Toal can see thousands of birds fish and breed; more than 100 species live there, some of which are endangered species.