Thaumatibis gigantea by Kathryn Weisberg(8 in. x 8 in. | Oil on Canvas | ID#4218)
Family: THRESKIORNITHIDAE | Conservation Status: Critically Endangered | Population Trend: decreasing
The Giant Ibis is a huge version of the lesser ibis seen in the Florida wetlands and elsewhere. It has declined in its native South-East Asian range and is now critically endangered, known to breed only in northern Cambodia. Because Giant Ibis prefers to nest away from villages in deciduous forest areas. It selects large tall trees for nesting and success is usually around 50% with losses due to predation by civet or marten. Researchers and conservationists have placed predator baffles on trees improving nesting success significantly and the solution was amazingly cheap. Giant Ibis prefers foraging further away from villages, at larger pools with larger mud areas where there are greater abundances of frogs and mole-crickets. Frogs are the species's main prey, followed by unidentified 'insects', mole-crickets, larvae and eels. Fire reduces the abundance of mole-crickets, and draining reduces the abundance of eels as local human pressures increase. Maintaining water in pools throughout the dry season is crucial to maintaining prey abundance. Nest protection should increase productivity and play a key role in recovering numbers. We need so desperately to make room on the planet for our dwindling non-human neighbors. Just knowing they are there enriches our lives enormously.
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