Jan 19

Sarus cranes received additional protection in Cambodia this month when the Kampong Trach Important Bird Area was finally designated a sarus crane reserve.

Photo of sarus cranes in courtship display

The sarus crane is the tallest flying bird in the world with some adult males reaching up to 1.8 metres tall.

Globally important reserve

Establishing the Anlung Pring Management and Conservation Area for Sarus Crane and Other Birds at Kampong Trach, southern Cambodia, represented the culmination of a protracted bureaucratic process that began in 2006.

Kampong Trach is a globally important non-breeding site for the sarus crane, which is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. In March 2010 the site held over 270 sarus cranes, more than 30% of the global population.

The new reserve covers areas of seasonally inundated grassland and supports mangroves and salt marsh vegetation, all of which are key sarus crane foraging habitats. The sarus cranes usually arrive at this site in late November and remain there until early May before migrating northwards to their breeding grounds in the northern and eastern plains of Cambodia.

Photo of sarus cranes feeding

The sarus crane is found in a variety of wetland habitats, grasslands and cultivated fields where there is a mixture of flooded and dry ground.

A major achievement

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.”

Now that the protected area is in place, the scene is set for larger scale conservation investment. Funding has been secured to strengthen the capacity of the local community to develop sustainable agriculture and implement a ‘wildlife-friendly’ produce scheme.

Watch a video of sarus cranes displaying on ARKive.

To read more about this, see the BirdLife article.

Alex Royan, ARKive Species Text Author