Population of Asia's rarest waterbird 30% higher than previously thought

A record-breaking 429 White-shouldered Ibis (Pseudibis davisoni) were recorded in a new survey in Cambodia, dramatically expanding the known global population of the critically endangered bird species, reports BirdLife International.

The discovery, which exceeds the previous estimate of 330 birds by 30 percent, was welcomed by conservationists.

"Discovering so many White-shouldered Ibis really improves our chances of saving the species," said Hugh Wright, a doctoral student at University of East Anglia and an expert on the species, in a statement. "During this record-breaking count, one of our main sites actually had far fewer birds than in previous surveys. I don’t believe these birds move very far and they were probably still present at that site. Considering previous counts, this means that the actual population could even exceed 500 birds."

White-shouldered Ibis. Photo: Hugh Wright/UEA
However despite the positive news, the species—which is considered the most endangered waterbird in Southeast Asia due to habitat loss and hunting—is still in dire need of help.

"The species is still very close to extinction so we are continuing our efforts to understand and protect the ibis," said Sum Phearun of the People Resources and Conservation Foundation, which together with the Cambodian Forestry Administration and General Department for Administration of Nature Conservation and Protection, BirdLife International in Indochina, the Wildlife Conservation Society and Worldwide Fund for Nature, conducted the survey.


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