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Rare Asian openbill storks spotted for first time in Vietnam’s Bac Lieu

Thursday, March 28, 2019, 14:30 GMT+7
Rare Asian openbill storks spotted for first time in Vietnam’s Bac Lieu
Asian openbill storks (in grey) are pictured at the nature reserve in Bac Lieu Province, Vietnam’s Mekong Delta in late March 2019. Photo: Phan Thanh Cuong / Tuoi Tre

A flock of Asian openbill storks, a species Vietnam classifies as rare, has been under strict protection by local authorities since it landed in the southern province of Bac Lieu several days ago.

The flock, consisting of nearly 150 storks, is staying at the local nature reserve, said Tran Binh Loc, head of the wetland’s management.

Each of the birds is about 50 centimeters tall, weighs one to 1.6 kilograms, and has a wingspan of over one meter, Loc said.

He attributed the birds’ arrival to efforts by the local government to deter residents living near the reserve from illegal hunting and damaging the local ecosystem.

Loc also pointed out that the large available number of fish, shrimp, crabs, frogs, and snails in the wetland likely played a significant part in the storks’ decision to stop in Bac Lieu.

An aerial view of the nature reserve in Bac Lieu Province, Vietnam’s Mekong Delta in late March 2019. Photo: Phan Thanh Cuong / Tuoi Tre

An aerial view of the nature reserve in Bac Lieu Province, Vietnam’s Mekong Delta in late March 2019. Photo: Phan Thanh Cuong / Tuoi Tre

Local authorities have stepped up their patrol around the reserve and asked local people not to cause any harm to the visiting creatures.

Asian openbill storks, which have a characteristic greyish body and black wings, have been found in Asian countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand.

In Vietnam, they have been sighted in southwestern areas and Ho Chi Minh City’s neighbor Tay Ninh Province, but only in modest numbers.

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