Cambodian Conservationists Calls for Action to Preserve Vulture

A group of Cambodian conservationists are joining hands with other stakeholders to mark the International Vulture Awareness Day.

The first Saturday in September each year is International Vulture Awareness Day and the Royal Government officials, conservationists and local people are promoting the awareness on this kind of rare animal.

Vultures are an ecologically vital group of birds that face a range of threats in many areas that they occur, said international vulture conservationists, adding that populations of many species are under pressure and some species are facing extinction.

According to WWF-Cambodia, vultures help clean environment by eating carcasses in the forests and nearby the communities. By eating carcasses, they help prevent bad smell and diseases from affecting villagers and animals in the communities.

Vultures protect communities and the people. Vultures bring luck! Together we can protect vultures by not eating bushmeat and not using poison to kill wildlife, it underlined.

Global vulture populations are declining at an alarming rate. Cambodia's three vulture species � Red-headed (Sarcogyps calvus), Slender-billed (Gyps tenuirostris), and White-rumped (Gyps bengalensis) � are all listed on the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered. Cambodia supports the largest population of vultures in Southeast Asia, but there only a few hundred individuals left in the country.

Cambodia's vultures are facing a high risk of extinction and have seen a 50 percent decline in number since the late 2000's, said Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Only 121 of the birds were recorded this year's national census, the lowest number on record since 2003. Recent reviews indicate that poisoning is the major threat to the vulture population in Cambodia.

In recognition of International Vulture Awareness Day, conservationists are spreading the message about the plight of these animals and the importance of conserving them.

The International Vulture Awareness Day has grown from Vulture Awareness Days run by the Birds of Prey Programme of the Endangered Wildlife Trust in South Africa and the Hawk Conservancy Trust in England, who decided to work together and expand the initiative into an international event.

It is now recognised that a co-ordinated international day will publicise the conservation of vultures to a wider audience and highlight the important work being carried out by the world's vulture conservationists.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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