The Wildlife Conservation Society has found seven nests of the globally-threatened Lesser Adjutant Stork in Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary.
Sot Vandoeun, WCS’ wildlife monitoring team leader, said on Tuesday that it is the first time that WCS has found the bird’s nest in the sanctuary.
“It is a threatened species,” he said. “We are so happy to see the nests.”
Mr Vandoeun noted that the storks take about two months to hatch and that the nests were first spotted in August.
Mr Vandoeun said that the WCS has seen the storks in the sanctuary before, but not their nests.
“I am not sure whether the number of the Lesser Adjutant storks is increasing or decreasing in the sanctuary,” he said. “We have only just found the nests and have started protecting them.”
Mr Vandoeun said that the storks lay their eggs from October until June and one stork has between two to four eggs at once.
“I want to ask the people in the community where the storks live in to join together to protect this kind of species, especially their shelters and nests. If they do not protect it, we will lose it from our country,” he said.
Mr Vandoeun added that it is also important to strengthen laws protecting wildlife.
He noted that the Lesser Adjutant is a large stork which can reach a height of one meter with a wingspan of more than two metres.
Mr Vandoeun said there are now about 10,000 of the storks globally and its numbers are rapidly declining throughout Asia.
He noted that the Lesser Adjutant is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.
“Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary is an important habitat for this vulnerable species to survive and breed due to the presence of dry forests, grasslands and wetlands in which they can feed on fish, frogs, reptiles, snails and small mammals,” Mr Vandoeun said. “Currently, deforestation of this type of mosaic habitat is threatening its survival especially the nesting grounds.”
Lesser Adjutants nest in colonies, preferring very tall trees in mosaic habitats such as in the Keo Seima sanctuary. Cambodia’s eastern and northern plains boast of some of the best remaining examples of this highly threatened type of habitat.
In December, WCS said that three rare black-necked stork chicks had hatched in Preah Vihear’s Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary. The nest was under the society’s protection.
Cambodia is the only country in Southeast Asia where the bird is regularly recorded.