Asian waterbirds stage remarkable comeback

Apr 03, 2008
Asian waterbirds stage remarkable comeback
Spot-billed pelicans have increased by 400 percent since conservation measures have been enacted in Cambodia's Prek Toal. Credit: Eleanor Briggs

According to a report released today by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), several species of rare waterbirds from Cambodia’s famed Tonle Sap region have staged remarkable comebacks, thanks to a project involving a single team of park rangers to provide 24-hour protection to breeding colonies. The project pioneered a novel approach: employing former hunters and egg collectors to protect and monitor the colonies, thereby guaranteeing the active involvement of local communities in the initiative.

The report shows that some species, which include varieties of storks, pelicans, and ibises, have rebounded 20-fold since 2001, when WCS and the Ministry of Environment of the Royal Government of Cambodia established the conservation project. Before that time, rampant harvesting of both eggs and chicks had driven the colonies to the brink of local extinction.

"This is an amazing success story for the people and wildlife of Cambodia," said Colin Poole, Wildlife Conservation Society director for Asia Programs. "It also shows how important local people are in the conservation of wildlife in their own backyards."

Researchers first discovered the colonies in the mid 1990s in Prek Toal, an area within the massive Tonle Sap—a seasonally flooded wetland critical to Cambodia’s people and wildlife. According WCS researchers, the colonies include the largest, and in some cases, the only breeding populations of seven Globally Threatened large waterbird species in Southeast Asia.

Populations of all seven species have increased from a total of 2,500 breeding pairs in 2001 to 10,000 pairs in 2007. The success of the Prek Toal program has contributed to recent proposals for species status revisions, such as the down-listing of the spot-billed pelican based on the bird’s observed population recoveries.

Source: Wildlife Conservation Society

Explore further: A molecular compass for bird navigation

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chasing a changing climate

Feb 20, 2015

Is it better to live in the north or the south? It's a question that even birds are struggling to answer as the climate in different parts of Britain changes in a variety of ways. Scientists have known for ...

The European bison did not dwell in the forest

Feb 12, 2015

Together with colleagues from Germany and Poland, paleontologist Prof. Dr. Hervé Bocherens of the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoenvironment (HEP) and the Department of Geosciences at the ...

Recommended for you

A molecular compass for bird navigation

7 minutes ago

Each year, the Arctic Tern travels over 40,000 miles, migrating nearly from pole to pole and back again. Other birds make similar (though shorter) journeys in search of warmer climes. How do these birds manage ...

Salish Sea seagull populations halved since 1980s

56 minutes ago

The number of seagulls in the Strait of Georgia is down by 50 per cent from the 1980s and University of British Columbia researchers say the decline reflects changes in the availability of food.

Cultivation of microalgae via an innovative technology

1 hour ago

Preliminary laboratory scale studies have shown consistent biomass production and weekly a thick microalgal biofilm could be harvested. A new and innovative harvesting device has been developed for ALGADISK able to directly ...

100,000 bird samples online

1 hour ago

The Natural History Museum (NHM) in Oslo has a bird collection of international size. It is now available online.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.