The undated picture released by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) on Dec. 8, 2017 shows a black-nest stork feeding its chick in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary (KPWS) in Preah Vihear province, Cambodia. Three black-necked stork chicks have been hatched in KPWS in the Northern Plains in Cambodia's Preah Vihear province, giving hope to the future conservation of this rare species in the country, a WCS statement said on Friday. (Xinhua/WCS)
PHNOM PENH, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Three black-necked stork chicks have been hatched in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary (KPWS) in the Northern Plains in Cambodia's Preah Vihear province, giving hope to the future conservation of this rare species in the country, a Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) statement said on Friday.
The black-necked stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) is a very rare bird species in Asia and is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as "near threatened", the statement said, adding that an estimated 15,000 to 35,000 individuals exist globally, with the vast majority of them in Australia.
"Less than 10 pairs are known to exist in Cambodia, the only country in Southeast Asia where the bird is regularly recorded," it said.
Yoeun Yerb, a WCS-supported nest protector, said he was happy to see these three black-necked stork chicks because they were a rare bird, not often seen in the forest.
"We achieved our goal of guarding the nest and strongly hope that others will help safeguard this species," he said.
The Bird Nest Protection Program in the Northern Plains of Cambodia is a payment structure designed to combat the threat of egg and chick collection, the statement said. Under the scheme, local people living in the protected areas are offered conditional payments if they successfully locate, monitor and protect nests until the birds fledge.
Rours Vann, wildlife research team leader in KPWS for WCS and Ministry of Environment, said, "The black-necked stork is a very rare bird in Cambodia, and if we do not conserve them, they will disappear in the near future."
The Northern Plains of Cambodia consists of KPWS, Prey Preah Roka Wildlife Sanctuary and Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary, the statement said.
Northern Plains of Cambodia is home to 57 globally threatened mammal species and 300 bird species, said Song Chansocheat, deputy director of environment department in Preah Vihear province.
"Protecting this unique landscape is needed to ensure continued breeding and the survival of the species in Cambodia. Everyone can help conserve our priceless wildlife by not buying or eating their meat or eggs," he said.