Kulen, Preah Vihear ( August 28, 2017) Today, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) released video of three Endangered white-winged ducklings leaving their Koki tree-hollow home for the first time while their mother patiently waits for them to follow.

The ducklings are the latest piece of great news resulting from an innovative program developed by WCS in conjunction with Ministry of Environment (MoE), in which local people are compensated to protect and monitor endangered birds instead of harvesting them.

Even more encouraging, the mother duck in the video is itself an earlier rescue of the program that was discovered injured in the wild, picked up by people from Prey Veng village in mid-2015 and given to WCS. WCS transferred the duck to Angkor Center for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB) for rehabilitation. The bird was later tagged and released back to the wild in December of 2015.

Last month, WCS announced in a press release that for the first time in five years, a nest of the Endangered white-winged duck has been discovered in the Northern Plains of Cambodia. The nest is that shown in the video.

The white-winged duck (Asarcornis scutulata) is categorized on IUCN’s Red List as Endangered. The species’ global population is in decline due to habitat loss, disturbance along key stretches of riverine habitat and illegal poaching, and is estimated to be between 250 – 1,000 individuals. Little is currently known about the numbers present in Cambodia.

This work is supported by Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, the Akron Zoological Park, Sam Veasna Centre, and the European Union.