Wildlife Officials Look to Protect Endangered Cranes

At least 160 endangered  Eastern Sauras Cranes were re­cently discovered in Ta­keo prov­ince, where wildlife officials hope to create a preserve to pro­tect the birds.

Wildlife officials spotted the cranes, of which there are an estimated 400 in Cambodia, in Ta­keo’s Borei Cholsar and Koh An­det districts in March, said Men Phymean, director of the Wildlife Protection Office in the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fish­­­eries.

The last sighting of the birds was in October 2000, when US and Cambodian researchers found 12 in Takeo.

The rare, red-headed Eastern Sau­r­­­us Crane, 1.3 meters tall, was first found in Cambodia in 1998. Said to be the world’s highest-flying bird, the cranes are estimated to number only about 1,500 in the world.

The two districts where the most recent batch of cranes was seen contain a richly vegetated grassland area that Men Phym­ean said will be proposed as a preserve for the cranes.

On May 10, wildlife officials will hold a workshop in Takeo town to discuss conservation strategies from villagers and local authorities.

Takeo Governor Kep Chuk Tema said the area would be suitable for a crane preserve because it has not been farmed or used for dry-season rice cultivation.

The cranes already have a 100,000-hectare conservation area in Banteay Meanchey province.


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