The vulture population in Cambodia is under threat, with many of them facing extinction, however, there are some people like the Cambodian Vulture Project who are trying to do something about it.
In the village of Veal Krous, they have set up a vulture restaurant dedicated to preserving this carrion bird.
Their methods are quirky but effective. What they do is leave a large cow carcass at each of these restaurants with the aim of enticing the vultures into one spot so that they don’t want off and succumb to poison that farmers use to protect their cattle.
But how exactly does the Vulture restaurant function? Can you get a decent meal there? What other features do they offer? Well, we’re going to give you a brief overview of this amazing restaurant and how you can help them out with their conservation efforts.
Why Do These Vultures Need Protection?
There are 3 vulture species that are facing extinction in this area: the White-Rumped Vulture, the Slender-Billed Vulture, and the Red-Headed Vulture.
In the Cambodia area specifically, this bird is running out of food sources, which is what is contributing to its decline in numbers.
Poisoning is also a big problem for Asian vultures. Farmers are trying to protect cattle from these birds and vets will often use the poison Diclofenac, which is severely affecting the vulture population throughout Cambodia.
Because Cambodia does not have large enough carcasses to sustain these birds, they have resorted to creating feeding stations. This usually involves using the uninfected body of a cow that these creatures can feed on as and when they please.
This is where initiatives like the Vulture restaurant come in. This is basically a large feeding station for both humans and vultures. But what is the appeal and how do they present this restaurant? Well, keep reading to find out more.
What Is The Vulture Restaurant?
This restaurant is in the village of Veal Krous, near the Preah Vihear Protected Forest, and it is not like your traditional restaurant. For a start, this restaurant isn’t even indoors.
The restaurant, if you can call it that, is a collection of tents, more like a safari camp. Visitors stay in these tents overnight and there is usually breakfast and dinner provided that the guests can eat on camping tables provided.
There is also a toilet and a shower available on site.
The vulture feeding station is located less than a mile away, but this is a great place where you and the other guests can sit and really bond over the shared experience that you are having.
When it comes to vacations, you wouldn’t be able to find anything like this in the world.
But that’s not all. This restaurant/hotel is curated by very experienced Cambodian tour guides, who offer some wonderful tours and hikes of the surrounding environment.
You can see creatures like the Stork-Billed Kingfisher, with its large pink and red beak and lush blue plumage, or the Lanceolated Warbler that you can find rummaging through the tall grasses.
Also keep your eye out for Germain’s Swiftlets, Asian Palm-Swifts, two Himalayan Swiftlets, and Crested Treeswifts.
But once you have seen the incredible flora and fauna that this village has to offer, it is time to get some rest and then hike out to the main event: the vulture feeding station.
Watching The Vultures Feeding
Now it is time to do a little more hiking. The hideouts for watching the vultures feeding are located around 0.2 miles away from the feeding spot itself.
There is one lower to the ground and one situated on a high podium so you can get a better look at these creatures eating.
Once you are comfortable in these hideouts, then all you have to do is wait. You might see an errant jackal come onto the scene to worry the carcass of the cow. Obviously, nobody can guarantee that you will see vultures, but these creatures are hungry most of the time, so the chances are high.
The Red-Headed Vulture is the most common to visit the site, along with the White-Rumped Vulture. The Slender-Billed Vultures are rarer, but if you are lucky then you might catch a glimpse of one, identified by a pale rump, grayish tailfeathers, and long, dark-blue neck.
The Red-Headed Vulture is the most impressive-looking. Its head really is a very vivid color of red with piercing eyes that will look straight through you.
The White Rumped vulture is also a striking creature, so make sure that you bring a camera to take plenty of snaps.
Asian Vulture Population Stats
This creature is one of the most endangered in all of Cambodia, with numbers declining by a massive 99%, resulting in the creature becoming very close to getting extinct.
The White-Rumped Vulture is the one that was in the most danger, almost reaching extinction, with the Slender-Bill experiencing a no less severe 97% decline in numbers.
However, due to feeding stations such as the Vulture Restaurant, there has been an improvement in their numbers, and Cambodia has seen its numbers double in recent years.
The Cambodia Vulture Project was launched in 2004 and opened a few of these restaurants to not only raise money for the conservation of these creatures but to also increase the awareness of their plight.
This project was started in 2004 and since then it has yielded great results. The number of vultures has raised from 162 in 2004 to 286 individual vultures in 2008.
The White Rumped and Slender-Billed Vultures are increasing the most rapidly, with the Red-Headed Vulture numbers staying the same.
We hope that our description of the amazing vulture restaurant has given you the incentive to get down there and help raise money and awareness for this great cause.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip that you really won’t find anywhere else, so for those who like off-the-beaten-track adventures, then we would certainly recommend the Vulture restaurant to you.