PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Sept. 3 (UPI) — Vultures in Cambodia are increasing in number, making it the only country in Asia with an increasing population of the scavengers, researchers say.
A record numbers of vultures have been counted in Cambodia’s census, with 296 birds of three species found across the Northern and Eastern Plains of Cambodia by the Cambodia Vulture Conservation Project, a partnership of conservationists led by the Wildlife Conservation Society of London, a society release said.
While vultures across Asia teeter on the brink of extinction in most countries, all three of Cambodia’s endangered vulture species are either stable or growing in numbers, the WCS says.
The greatest threat to Asia’s vultures is the veterinary drug diclofenac, widely used as an anti-inflammatory drug for cattle in South Asia.
The drug is toxic to vultures, causing death in birds that feed on cattle carcasses, the WCS says.
Vulture conservation efforts in Cambodia are the result of a number of activities promoted by the Cambodia Vulture Conservation Project, including paying villagers a small fee for protecting vulture nests and the establishment of “vulture restaurant” feeding stations.
“By protecting nests and supplementing food supplies, we are saving some of the world’s largest and most charismatic birds,” Hugo Rainey, WCS technical adviser to the Cambodia Vulture Conservation Project, said. “Nowhere else in Asia do vultures have such a promising future.”
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