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International Vulture Awareness Day

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
A vulture in Preah Vihear province during the Kingdom’s first celebration of International Vulture Awareness Day in 2015. KT/Taing Vida

This year´s International Vulture Awareness Day is on Saturday September 1. The aim is for each participating organization to carry out individual activities that highlight vulture conservation.  These activities also bring the awareness of the conservation of vultures to a wider audience and highlight the important work being carried out by the Cambodia Vulture Working Group.

Cambodia’s vultures play an important role in maintaining the environment by stripping the carcasses of dead animals, which helps to reduce the spread of disease.   They are nature’s clean-up crew.

They can generate sustainable income for local communities through ecotourism , but the species is facing an increasingly high risk of extinction, according to the Cambodia Vulture Working Group.

“Northern Cambodia is the only place in Southeast Asia where vultures can still be found in large numbers.  Tourists come to see them at our vulture restaurant at Dong Phlet in Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary,” says Simon Mahood, Wildlife Conservation Society’s senior technical advisor.

But over the past five years, the number of vultures in the wild has dramatically decreased due primarily to a lack of available prey, but the pharmaceuticals in cattle also play a role.

Mr. Seng Teak, WWF’s country director, noted that “The low numbers recorded this year, and the 50percent decline in Cambodia’s vulture population since 2000 is an alarming trend.  We must increase our efforts to address the causes of this decline, otherwise this important and rare bird species will disappear from the only place in Southeast Asia where we can still see them.”

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