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: Healthy humans make nice homes for viruses

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mozambique cracks ivory poaching ring

Sep 10, 2014

Wildlife campaigners in Mozambique say police have cracked an ivory poaching ring believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least 39 elephants.

Recommended for you

Healthy humans make nice homes for viruses

7 hours ago

The same viruses that make us sick can take up residence in and on the human body without provoking a sneeze, cough or other troublesome symptom, according to new research at Washington University School ...

Meteorite that doomed dinosaurs remade forests

9 hours ago

The meteorite impact that spelled doom for the dinosaurs 66 million years ago decimated the evergreens among the flowering plants to a much greater extent than their deciduous peers, according to a study ...

New camera sheds light on mate choice of swordtail fish

11 hours ago

We have all seen a peacock show its extravagant, colorful tail feathers in courtship of a peahen. Now, a group of researchers have used a special camera developed by an engineer at Washington University in ...

User comments : 0