Endangered Yellow-Breasted Bunting Needing Help

AKP Phnom Penh, September 16, 2019—

Globally endangered yellow-breasted bunting has been spotted in Cambodia between the end of rainy season and the beginning of dry season – to come in less than three months – and the bird needs help or will soon become extinct.

According to experts, the conservation of the bird starts with recording their remaining number and status so as to inform and catalyse actions as well as to build public awareness in order to protect the bird’s existence.

To contribute to protecting the threatened yellow-breasted bunting, Ministry of Environment in cooperation with conservationists such as Birdlife International and Wildlife Conservation Society in Cambodia and from Hong Kong and Japan recently organised a national consultation workshop to help the bird.

Happening at Phnom Penh Era Hotel her in the capital, the discussion of concerned authorities and conservationists intended to exchange experience and network for mutual support in recording the number of the yellow-breasted bunting and their condition and prioritising protection mechanism, particularly promoting public contribution to the work.

“I firmly believe that the sharing and contribution from the workshop participants are significant inputs in sustainably preserving yellow-breasted bunting in Cambodia for the benefit of the people now and in the future,” underlined Mr. Ou Serey, a deputy general from environment ministry, during the gathering.

According to the ministry’s study, the yellow-breasted bunting was recorded in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2017 as the most endangered bird.

The bird’s reproduction usually happens in Europe and north Asia, and they move for food and shelters to countries like India and the south of China.

Record in 2007, continues the study, the bird no longer existed in Finland as they used to, few were seen in the west of Russia, only about 20 pairs were in Hokkaido island of Japan, and some were spotted in Cambodia between the end of rainy season and the start of dry season (December to February).

Yellow-breasted bunting, as explained by experts, does not only play an essential role in the world’s ecological system, but is also useful for environment and agriculture, particularly in terms of natural pest management.

It also a potential natural tourist attraction for countries including Cambodia, allowing sustainable local community income generation means.

Rising human’s demand for the bird as food, noticeably in Asia, has resulted in worrying decline of the yellow-breasted bunting across the world.

Specifically in Cambodia, experts are also concerned about short-sighted small businesses of catching birds for selling to those who want to free the animals for religious merit; and normally, the freed birds were eventually collected back by the sellers for re-selling’s until they die, and then become food.

Mr. Simba Chan, representative of Birdlife International in Asia, highlighted that engagement the public in bird conservation is vital, and it needs to start with the foundation of educating them to like the birds and the nature.

“When they love the nature and the birds, people will stop hunting and eating the animals”, he added.

Following the consultation, ministry of environment along with conservationists and relevant local authorities will track the information about the range, population size, habitat and ecology, use and trade, threats, and conservation actions including public engagement and awareness building to help the endangered yellow-breasted bunting.

Photos: BirdLife International Cambodia

Article in Khmer by Kong Sereiroth

Article in English by Lim Nary