From Poachers to Nest Protectors- protect South East Asia’s largest waterbird colonies.
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Prek Toal is now the largest waterbird colony in Southeast Asia. However, it was not always this way. By the late 1990’s, decades of exploitation of stork, pelican, egret and heron nests meant that only a few hundred breeding waterbirds could be found each year. The recovery of the colony is one of Southeast Asia’s greatest conservation success stories.
The waterbird colony has grown because people from Prek Toal village who used to collect eggs and chicks from nests are now employed to protect the nests. As the waterbird colony has grown, the number of people protecting it has also grown. Up to 40 community members are now employed through the year.
Nest guardians are stationed on tree-top platforms made of woven bamboo mats, where they live for ten days at a time to protect the nesting birds. Equipped with a telescope and basic living materials they count the number of nests, chicks and adults of each species twice each week to collect vital monitoring data.