PHNOM PENH, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- A nest of critically endangered Giant Ibis was discovered a few kilometers inland from the Mekong River in northeastern Cambodia, becoming the first documented nest site for this species within the Mekong Flooded Forest, according to a statement from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on Tuesday.
Restricted to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, the Giant Ibis ( Thaumatibis gigantea) was listed on the Red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1994 as critically endangered, the statement said, adding that its global population numbers approximately 345 individuals, with about 90 percent in Cambodia.
The nest was spotted by WWF researchers in mid-July.
Sok Ko, forestry administration official and bird nest project officer with WWF-Cambodia, said that after getting the report from a local farmer, his bird nest team immediately went to the nest on the Mekong River in Cambodia's Stung Treng province and saw an adult Giant Ibis sitting on the nest with two eggs.
"The discovery of the Giant Ibis nest on the Mekong is extremely significant because it provides hope for the species survival," he said.
WWF has been supported villagers along the Mekong River to protect the nests of three other critically endangered birds including White-shouldered Ibis, Red-headed Vulture and White Rumped Vulture, as well as important Cambodian populations of River Terns and Lesser Adjutants.
The discovery of the Giant Ibis, along with the presence of White-shouldered Ibis, Vultures, Lesser Adjutant and River Tern, clearly indicates that this section of the Mekong is globally important for the conservation of many bird species that have virtually disappeared from the rest of Southeast Asia, the statement said.
"Giant Ibises don't like to be disturbed and are very shy -- they tend to live far from human settlements," said Gerry Ryan, WWF's Research Technical Advisor. "The presence of Cambodia's national bird is further proof that efforts in managing and conserving the area and its biodiversity are worthwhile and having an effect."