Home > Local News > Government of Cambodia declares new Sarus Crane reserve

Government of Cambodia declares new Sarus Crane reserve

Sarus Cranes
Sarus Cranes © Dave Farrow, from the surfbirds galleries.
Kampong Trach Important Bird Area (IBA) has finally been designated as
Cambodia’s second Sarus Crane reserve. On 6 January 2011, Prime
Minister Hun Sen signed a sub decree to establish the Anlung Pring
Management and Conservation Area for Sarus Crane and Other Birds
located in Kampong Trach District, Kampot Province. This signing
represented the culmination of consultative and bureaucratic process
that began in 2006.

“Almost the entire process has been driven
by the vision and dedication of Seng Kim Hout and the credit is his”,
said Jonathan Eames, Programme Manager for BirdLife International in
Indochina. “At times it felt like the process would never end, but Kim
Hout never lost focus or commitment to completing the task”, continued
Eames.

Kampong Trach is one of the three
most globally important non-breeding sites in Cambodia (a fourth is
situated in Vietnam) for the South-east Asian race sharpii of Sarus
Crane Grus antigone, which is considered globally Vulnerable. The other
two are at Ang Trapeang Thmor, which has been a reserve since 2000, and
at Boeung Prek Lapouv, where BirdLife and Forestry Administration also worked successfully to establish a Sarus Crane reserve in 2007.

The
newly declared reserve covers only 217 ha of seasonally inundated
grassland and unlike Boeung Prek Lapouv, lies close to the sea and has
a tidal regime, supporting mangrove and salt marsh vegetation in addition to wet grassland. In March 2010 the site held over 270 Sarus Cranes, more than 30% of the global population. The Sarus Cranes
usually arrive in late November and remain until early May when they
begin their migration to the wetlands in the northern and eastern
plains of Cambodia where they breed.

Bou Vorsak, Acting
Programme Manager for BirdLife’s work in Cambodia, said this was
another major achievement for BirdLife. “This is the second protected
area in Cambodia that we have proposed and succeeded in having the
government gazette. We are proud of this achievement.”

Since
2004, Kampong Trach IBA has been patrolled by a local conservation
group, which have prevented encroachment and stopped hunting, as well
as raised awareness of the importance of the area’s biodiversity, and
the benefits of sustainable use, among the local communities. The site
lies close to the Vietnamese frontier where rapid economic development
has pushed up land prices. This factor was the main reason why the
designation process took so long as local vested interests tried to
thwart the process.

With the designation of the site as a
protected area now in place, the scene is set for larger scale
conservation investment. Recently, nearly US$ 330,000 was granted to
the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and Mlub Baitong via the
BirdLife/Critical Ecosystem partnership
Fund, to fully establish and conserve Boeung Prek Lapouv and Kampong
Trach Sarus Crane reserves. These two projects will contribute to their
long-term sustainable management
by developing and revising site management plans, training and
supporting local conservation groups, piloting longterm financing
mechanisms, initiating community based ecotourism, and generating
increased support among local people for site conservation. Also, via
the CPEF small grants scheme administered directly by BirdLife, The Cambodian Institute for Research and Rural Development
(CIRD) received nearly US$20,000 to increase efforts to conserve
Kampong Trach, by strengthening the capacity of the local community on
improved and sustainable agricultural production, and conducting the feasibility study for introduction and implementation of a ‘Wildlife-friendly’ produce scheme in this site. This project started since November 2010 and will end in late December 2011.

Surf Bird.com
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Categories: Local News
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