Almost 80 percent of 121 endangered lesser adjutant nests found earlier this month have hatched, officials protecting them said yesterday.
Rours Vann, a research team leader with the Wildlife Conservation Society, said the 121 nests were found in two places in the Northern Plains of Cambodia.
“From the beginning of October until now, our research teams have found 121 lesser adjutant nests in the Northern Plains,” he said.
“Of those, 65 are located in Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary and 56 are in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary.”
Mr Vann said they are continuing to search for new nests and are now working closely with local community teams and rangers to protect the nests and breeding areas.
“We have six groups protecting the lesser adjutant nests in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, but I do not know how many groups are at Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary,” Mr Vann said.
According to a WCS statement, the organisation has hired 10 local community teams under the Bird Nest Protection Programme to locate, monitor and protect the nests.
Song Chansocheat, deputy director of the environment department in Preah Vihear province, said protecting the nesting sites is very important to ensure the survival of this rare species in the country.
“The Northern Plains in Preah Vihear province are the lesser adjutant’s second largest stronghold in the country after the Prek Toal Ramsar Site in Battambang province,” he said.
Mr Chansocheat said people can help conserve wildlife by stopping the purchasing, poisoning and consumption of wild meat.
Som Khoeun, a local community member hired by WCS to guard lesser adjutant nests, said he is delighted to see the birds on the rebound.
“WCS hired my son and I. We work hard to protect the nests from disturbances and poaching,” he said. “We will try our best to protect the nests until the chicks successfully hatch and leave the nest.”
The lesser adjutant is a large stork reaching 51 inches in height with a wingspan exceeding two metres.
Despite a global population estimate of 10,000 mature individuals, the birds are experiencing rapid population decline.