The primary direct threat to large waterbirds is the collection of chicks and eggs by local people, often for sale to traders who then sell them in markets. In response, the Cambodian Ministry of Environment (MOE) and the Forestry Administration (FA), with technical advice from WCS, implemented programs to protect their nests and breeding colonies.
On the Tonle Sap Great Lake teams of rangers monitor and protect the breeding colonies of large waterbirds that are found in the Prek Toal Core Area of the Biosphere Reserve. Constructing semi-permanent platforms near the colonies, the rangers conduct regular nest counts to monitor the numbers of birds within the colony, while their presence deters hunters from disturbing the nests.
In the Northern Plains, protection efforts centred on the "Bird Nest Protection Project", which makes direct financial payments to local communities to monitor and protect birds' nests. This reduces the exploitation of eggs and chicks by these communities and also increases the breeding success of threatened water birds.
The mechanism for this project is simple. If a community member locates a nest and chooses to protect the nest, they receive $2.5 per day to protect the nest, until the chicks successfully fledge. If the protected site is a colony with many nests, then two or more people protect it and receive benefits. The wildlife monitoring manager and monitoring rangers check each protected nest and colony regularly to ensure that high quality protection effort is maintained. This enables them to verify that community nest protectors are carrying out their work as well as enabling effective monitoring of bird populations.