World’s Endangered, Largest Stork Species Take Flight in Cambodia
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.
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. It is also the world’s second largest greater adjutant colony after that in Assam, India.
"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.
The site is the premier freshwater wetland area on the Tonle Sap Lake and is well known for its incredible biological, social and economic resources.
"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.