Conservationists caution road through sanctury may harm birds

Source: Phnom Penh Post | Wed, 15 June 2016, by and

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Cambodia’s critically endangered national bird, the giant ibis, pictured in the remote Western Siem Pang forest in Stung Treng province. Eleanor Briggs

Conservationists have warned a new road could threaten endangered bird species in Stung Treng’s Siem Pang wildlife sanctuary.

Country program manager Bou Vorsak said BirdLife International had worked with Forestry Administration officials in the area for over a decade to protect endangered species, and the 65,000-hectare area had been officially declared a wildlife sanctuary last month.

The designation would make encroachment by economic land concessions less likely, Vorsak said. However, he said a road being built by army engineers through the sanctuary would draw houses and shops, leading to further development and habitat loss.

Svay Rieng province department of rural development director Minh Sichay said construction of the road to the Laos border began in January last year and that 137 kilometres of the 224-kilometre stretch had been completed.

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