30% of the endangered Spotted-billed Pelicans in the Kingdom


A herd of Spotted-billed Pelicans found in Cambodia. Minister of the Environment

Cambodia has around 3,000 Spotted-billed Pelicans, which make up about 30 percent of the world’s population, Environment Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on October 29.

The species, also known by its scientific name Pelecanus philippensis, is labeled in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as “Near Threatened”.

Pheaktra said that although the Spotted Pelican is still seen in Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, it only breeds in India, Sri Lanka and the Prek Toal region in the north. -western Cambodia, the last such place in Southeast Asia. .

Prek Toal is Cambodia’s largest bird sanctuary, located in the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve, northwest of Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia.

The spokesperson said the main threats to the species are loss of breeding and staging habitat, wildlife trade, overhunting, egg collection from nesting and nesting colonies. other forms of human disturbance.

“Spotted-billed Pelicans are under strict protection by environmental officials and the Wildlife Conservation Society [WCS] in protected natural areas, especially in their breeding grounds at the Prek Toal Ramsar site, ”said Pheaktra.

The birds are closely observed and their numbers monitored, he said, adding that the world population is estimated at 8,700-12,000.

Found mostly in lowland areas near water bodies, pelicans prefer habitats such as ponds, swamps, lakes, lagoons, rivers and seashores, he added.

He said the gray-colored pelicans are on average 127-140cm long at maturity and sport large, long beaks with pouches that develop their identifying black dots as they mature, which are significantly more pronounced during the season. breeding in November-May.

Females usually lay three or four eggs per clutch, he said, adding that parents fly with their chicks to different wetlands in Cambodia and neighboring countries, only to return to the Tonle Sap Lake area during the breeding season.

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