In the past three months, bird conservationists have discovered 10 giant ibis nests – one of the world’s most endangered bird species – in the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in Ratanakkiri province. Officials hope that more nests will be found by the end of the breeding season in November.
The giant ibis is recognised as the Kingdom’s national bird.
The wildlife sanctuary has a critical role in supporting the giant ibis. Every year, the sanctuary’s team locates breeding grounds to protect them as well as prepare for future activities, BirdLife International Cambodia Programme said on August 15.
“Because this bird lays eggs during the rainy season, the search is very difficult and requires a lot of work. After three months of searching during the breeding season, 10 nests have been found in the sanctuary. Some eggs have hatched, while others are still incubating under the close supervision and protection of our field team,” it said.
BirdLife said as the breeding season finishes in November, conservationists hoped more nests will be located for monitoring and protection.
It said while conservationists work hard to protect the bird, BirdLife and NatureLife Cambodia call on local communities and authorities to participate in protecting the nests by not encroaching on land, no egg gathering, and do not disturb the birds.
Bou Vorsak, Cambodia Programme Manager at BirdLife International, could not be reached for comment on August 15. But he told The Post in May that BirdLife and the Ministry of Environment will strengthen community involvement through the establishment of community protected areas, as well as community programmes such as the rice or tourism project that can protect habitats of the critically endangered white-shouldered ibis and giant ibis.
Neth Pheaktra, the environment ministry’s spokesman, said this was “very good news” for the ministry and conservationists who have found a series of giant ibis nests in protected areas in Cambodia.
Nests have been found in Ratanakkiri’s Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary, Mondulkiri’s Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary and Sre Pok Wildlife Sanctuary, and other protected areas in Preah Vihear province.
“The recent discovery of giant ibis nests gives new hope for the care and conservation of the bird and also reveals improvement of the combined natural resource management and conservation efforts of the ministry, partner organisations and communities in protected areas,” he said.
Pheaktra said Cambodia is the only major sanctuary in the world for the giant ibis and white-shouldered ibis. Cambodia is proud to have this rare bird and needs to work together to protect and conserve this rare species for the benefit of future generations and the world’s biodiversity.
According to a census conducted by the ministry and partner organisations in 2020, Cambodia has more than 300 endangered giant ibis, representing 99 per cent of the world’s population, of which less than 200 are adult, he said. The number of white-shouldered Ibis, which is nearly 600, represents about 95 per cent of the world’s population.