The annual vulture census has revealed that Vulture population numbers remain steady in Cambodia. Simultaneous data collection on vulture population at all seven permanent sites across their home range in Cambodia was conducted for the sixth time on 10 and 20 June 2009. The 2009 census counted a total of 266 vultures including 182 White-rumped Vultures, 41 Slender-billed Vultures and 43 Red-headed Vultures. These numbers are slightly lower than the previous year, although the second highest count ever for both White-rumped and Slender-billed Vultures in Cambodia was recorded.
Census results suggest that the strategy of providing supplemental food through vulture restaurants is proving successful. Additionally, wider conservation activities within larger sites such as Preah Vihear Protected Forest may also be contributing to the security of vulture nesting colonies and the return of large mammal species, their principal food supply. Population estimation based on DNA samples will help confirm the effectiveness of this monitoring technique. This will be particularly important for Red-headed Vultures which have been less well studied to date and whose ecology and behaviour may limit the effectiveness of annual monitoring at restaurants; Red-headed Vultures are believed to be partially territorial and predatory, thus they may rely less on large carcasses (and therefore restaurants) for food than other species.