Rare greater adjutant chicks successfully fledge from nests in Cambodia: conservationist group

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-28 00:19:11|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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PHNOM PENH, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Globally endangered greater adjutant chicks have successfully fledged from 175 nests in the Prek Toal Ramsar Site in northwest Cambodia's Battambang province and disbursed across the country, a conservationist group said on Thursday.

The nests were protected for six months by conservationists from Cambodia's Ministry of Environment (MoE), Prek Toal village, and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), according to a WCS press release.

The greater adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius) is the largest stork species in the world, reaching 1.5 meters in height, and is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as endangered.

An estimated 800-1,000 mature individuals exist globally and 150-200 pairs live in Prek Toal, the only known breeding site in Southeast Asia, the release said.

"I am proud of working with my team to conserve this rare bird and am happy to see greater adjutants and other important waterbirds living and breeding safely here," said Chhan Chhoum, former egg collector and a nest protector.

"Local people in Prek Toal recognize the importance of waterbird conservation and the fact that these birds are providing a sustainable source of income through ecotourism," he added.

Prek Toal is home to the world's second largest greater adjutant breeding colony after that in Assam, India, the release said, adding that the site is the premier freshwater wetland area on the Tonle Sap Great Lake, and is well known for its incredible biological, social and economic resources.

In October 2015, Prek Toal was designated a Ramsar site due to its global significance for conservation.

"Prek Toal is the most important habitat for waterbirds in Cambodia. Over 130 waterbird species live and breed in this area," said Sun Visal, Waterbirds Monitoring and Research Team Leader with WCS and MoE at the Prek Toal Ramsar Site.