So far this breeding season, two nests of the Critically Endangered Red-headed Vulture (Sarcogyps calvus) have been located in Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary (formerly Preah Vihear Protected Forest) in the Northern Plains of Cambodia. With financial assistance from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies and Agence Française de Développement (AFD), WCS has employed four local community members to protect these nests, and will be attaching “predator exclusion belts” to nesting trees, preventing terrestrial carnivores such as civets from scaling nesting trees to feed on eggs.
Cambodia’s vultures are threatened by food shortages caused by low numbers of wild and domestic cattle. Vulture restaurants are regularly conducted at Veal Buntoal eco-tourism campsite in Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary to supplement the vultures’ diet. As well as helping vulture populations, the restaurants provide WCS research teams the opportunity to monitor vulture numbers.
Vulture restaurants also attract bird watcher who flock from around the world to witness the spectacle of vultures feeding. Revenue generated by WCS eco-tourism partner Sam Veasna Centre provides sustainable livelihood opportunities to community members of Dangphlet village, as well as sustainably financing vulture conservation in Cambodia.