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Carnivorous Plant  (12 August)
Vulture Restaurants  (23 February)


12 August 2012

New Species in Cambodia

Carnivorous pitcher plant

The Nepenthes Holdenii Pitcher Plant in Cambodia

The area comprising Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, and the Yunnan Provice of China is considered "one of the last frontiers for new species discoveries on our planet," according to the most recent World Wildlife Fund report. An average of one new species is discovered every two days in this area of great bio-diversity in Southeast Asia.

The WWF report listed 208 new species and one notable one was this carnivorous pitcher plant found in the Cardamom Mountains of Cambodia. It secretes an acid into its cavity and then lures its prey there.

23 February 2012

Vulture Restaurants

Dead vulture
A dead vulture (Photo from Science Daily)
Vultures, although not the cuddly type of animal one might keep for a pet, are an important part of the ecosystem, but they are rapidly disappearing from Asia. 99% of the vultures in the Indian subcontinent have disappeared and the vulture populations in other parts of Asia are dwindling precipitously, except in Cambodia. That is because Cambodia does not use the drug diclofenac for its cattle. The drug is widespread in most of Asia and causes kidney failure in the vultures which feed on the carcasses of the drug-treated cattle.

Recognizing the opportunity they have to stabilize the vulture population in Cambodia, the Wildlife Conservation Society has set up "vulture restaurants" in several provinces. Once a month they slaughter a cow for the vultures, to provide a drug-free source of food. The increases in numbers since the onset of this program have been dramatic. WCS does an annual raptor census and the number of vultures sighted jumped from 209 in 2009 to 267 in 2011, making Cambodia the only Asian country where the vulture population is stable and might actually be increasing.