As International Vulture Awareness Day approaches, conservationists have called for a boycott of bushmeat and a halt to using poison to hunt wildlife.
Ny Naiky, BirdLife International Cambodia Programme coordinator who has been tasked with vulture conservation, said yesterday that red-head, white-romped and slender-billed vultures continue to face extinction.
Ms Naiky said that vultures are under threat from habitat loss and the presence of poachers.
“The vultures have decreased significantly when compared to past years due to loss of habitat, a lack of food and poachers using poison to kill wild animals,” she said. “Poisoned animals are consumed by vultures which in turn eventually get poisoned and die.”
Ms Naiky said that in order to address these challenges, her organisation is working with the Environment Ministry to organise Vulture Awareness day on September 7.
In support of the event, World Wide Fund for Nature Cambodia stated on Facebook that vultures are self-sufficient animals that have a number of benefits to the natural order.
It said that vultures rid the ground of dead animals and prevent diseases from spreading to humans and other animals.
It stressed that vultures continue to live under threats from deforestation and poisoning. The WWF is urging the public to participate in the protection of the birds.
“Together we can protect vultures by not eating bushmeat and not using poison to kill wildlife,” it added.
Chea Sam Ang, the ministry’s natural resources preservation department general-director, said yesterday that the government regularly partners with civil society organisations to protect vultures and ensure their survival in the wild.
“The ministry also calls on those who eat bushmeat to stop eating, hunting and trafficking wildlife,” Mr Sam Ang said. “Our wildlife is something we must protect and conserve in Cambodia.”
According to the ministry, the number of vultures in Cambodia has been stagnant at 130 birds, a dwindling population when compared to previous years.