Cambodia moves to save rare grassland bird


Cambodia moves to save rare grassland bird

Nov 7, 2006 — PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Cambodia has set aside a large area of land to save from extinction fewer than 100 Bengal Floricans, believed to be the world’s largest remaining group of the grassland bird, a provincial governor said on Tuesday.

The network of protected areas cover more than 100 sq miles near Tonle Sap, home to thousands of waterfowl and birds during the wet season when it swells into one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia.

“This is a rare bird and if we fail to protect them, they will soon become extinct,” Nam Tum, governor of the easternprovince of
Kampong Thom where the birds live, told Reuters. The large bustards, mostly black in color with white wings, are threatened by the loss of their habitat due to industrial-scale farming, he said. The Bengal Florican is restricted to tiny fragments of grasslands scattered across Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal and
India where fewer than 1,000 birds live.
Nam Tum said banners would be put up in the area and farmers educated not to kill the birds, listed as endangered on a “Red List” compiled by the conservation body IUCN. Joe Walston, the World Conservation Society’s country representative, said
Cambodia’s decision gave the species a fighting chance at survival.
“This population of Bengal Floricans represents the best hope for the entire species,” Walston said in a statement.Copyright 2006 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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