Thirty-five Sarus Cranes have returned to the Northern Tonle Sap Protected Landscape (NTSPL) in Kampong Thom and Siem Reap provinces for feeding after their breeding season is over. These are the first of at least 50 Sarus Cranes that return to the site every year, making the NTSPL a critical habitat for Sarus Crane, as well as the most important breeding site for the Critically Endangered Bengal Florican. The cranes typically arrive in the NTSPL in December, and stay until late May, when they go to the Northern Plains for breeding.
The Globally Vulnerable Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) is a large and elegant crane standing up to 180cm tall, making it the tallest flying bird in the world. Its estimated global population of 15,000 mature birds is declining due to degradation and destruction of wetland habitats, human exploitation and from the effects of pollutants and poisons. The population in Cambodia is only 800 birds, which is half of the global population of the Southeast Asian subspecies Grus Antigone sharpii.
The Ministry of Environment (MoE), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and local communities are working together to protect Sarus Cranes in the NTSPL through patrolling to prevent wetland habitat loss and outreach activities to increase public understanding and reduce hunting and poisoning.
These conservation activities in the NTSPL would not be possible without the generous support of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies and Foundation Ensemble.