Two pairs of critically endangered giant ibis—Cambodia’s national bird—have been spotted for the first time in a decade in a protected forest in Mondolkiri province, a conservation group announced yesterday.
While the Wildlife Conservation Society believed the birds still inhabited the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, Sot Vandoeun, who led the monitoring team, said there had been no recorded sightings for 10 years until the sighting on August 18.
Based on noise in the forest, he said, he believed more pairs were inhabiting the area. “According to research, there are more than 100” giant ibis in Cambodia, Mr. Vandoeun said, mostly in the provinces of Preah Vihear, Stung Treng and Ratanakkiri, with only a few in Keo Seima.
The giant ibis is listed as “critically endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list. Mr. Vandoeun said his team would continue to look for the birds’ nests and would study their migration routes because Keo Seima was a rare destination for the birds. The greatest threat to the species is shelter and food loss caused by deforestation, he said.
(Additional reporting by Izzy Souster)