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Increase in Cambodia's vultures gives hope to imperiled scavengers
Date:9/3/2010

are protected by local community members who are paid a small fee for their support. This ensures that vulture nesting success is greatly improved and also benefits local community members who often have few other sources of income during the dry season, which coincides with the vulture breeding season. Vulture food sources are supplemented by 'vulture restaurants,' feeding stations that also give visitors the opportunity to see these huge birds up close.

"By protecting nests and supplementing food supplies, we are saving some of the world's largest and most charismatic birds," stated Dr. Hugo Rainey, WCS technical advisor to the Cambodia Vulture Conservation Project. "Nowhere else in Asia do vultures have such a promising future."

While conservationists can point to recent successes in the conservation of Cambodia's vultures, they also warn of the rising threat of agricultural pesticides to the birds. Since December 2008, more than 20 vultures are known to have died from consuming domestic animals that had been poisoned accidentally by the inappropriate use of pesticides. This practice may also present a risk to human health.

Song Chansocheat, Ministry of Environment and WCS Vulture Project Manager, commented that "Cambodia is the only Asian country where diclofenac is rarely used and vulture populations are managed. We have been monitoring vultures since 2004 and there have been increasing numbers of poisoned birds recently. Educating people about the risk to wildlife and people from incorrect use of poisons is important."

"Cambodia has become a critical source site for vultures, one that we need to protect as a means of saving these ecologically valuable birds," said Joe Walston, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Asia Program.


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Contact: John Delaney
jdelaney@wcs.org
718-220-3275
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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