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Cambodia sees rise in population of rare crane

PHNOM PENH, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia recorded 180 globally vulnerable sarus cranes in its latest census, a significant increase from 156 birds last year, Neth Pheaktra, secretary of state for the Ministry of Environment, said on Monday.

The annual sarus crane census was conducted by the ministry in cooperation with NatureLife Cambodia, Wildlife Conservation Society, and the International Crane Foundation from December to May at various regions across the country, he said.

"The latest census recorded the highest number of cranes in February at 180 individuals," Pheaktra told Xinhua.

"The new figure shows a positive sign compared to 156 cranes recorded in the 2022 census and 161 cranes in the 2021 census," he said.

The sarus crane is the tallest flying bird standing up to 1.65 meters tall. It is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List as vulnerable because its global population is rapidly declining due to widespread degradation and destruction of wetland habitats, human exploitation, and the effects of pollutants and poisons.

In Cambodia, the cranes are present at the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri provinces, the Anlong Pring protected landscape in Kampot province and the Boeung Prek Lapouv protected landscape in Takeo province.