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VietNamNews

Rare bird at risk as farms encroach

Update: January, 20/2014 - 08:30
Sarus cranes at Dong Thap Province's Tam Nong Natural Conservation Centre. A decline in the bird's population has conservationists concerned about its survival. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Loc

DONG THAP (VNS)— The decline of the Sarus crane, the tallest flying bird in the world, is causing concern for conservationists.

Less than 2,000 members of the Indochinese subspecies are left in Cambodia, extreme southern Laos, Myanmar and southern Viet Nam.

Every November, the birds migrate to Tram Chim National Park in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta's Dong Thap Province. In 1998, about 1,100 Sarus cranes arrived in the national park.

But in recent years, that number has dwindled to approximately 200, said Nguyen Van Hung, director of the national park.

The primary cause of the crane's population decline was the increasing use of parkland for farming, Nguyen Hoai Bao, a lecturer at the HCM City University of Science, told Nguoi Lao dong (Labourer) Newspaper.

Authorities in Dong Thap Province allowed the building of many canal systems to prevent cajeput forest fires, so many wetland areas were inundated year-round. The water destroyed purple spikerush fields, where Sarus cranes typically eat and sleep.

Tram Chim National Park is working with the International Crane Foundation and the HCM City University of Science to help recover the birds' habitat.

"We really hope to receive support from international organisations so we can save the Sarus crane," he said. — VNS


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