|Central coordinates||103o 39.00' East 13o 7.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A3, A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||4 - 7m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2003|
Ornithological information Other regionally significant birds (Probably all breeding). Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Comb Duck, Watercock and Baya Weaver.
Site description Prek Toal is one of the most intact areas of freshwater swamp forest around Tonle Sap Lake. This unique ecosystem is adapted to withstand seasonal variation of water level of up to 10 m, and consists of short-tree shrublands and gallery forests of 7-15 m tall trees, dominated by Barringtonia acutangula and Diospyros cambodiana and a variety of woody lianas. In the dry season (January to May), these large trees support the largest remaining colonies of storks, pelicans and ibises in mainland South-east Asia. The IBA is centred on the Prek Toal Core Area of Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve and includes all areas the bird colonies and the areas of best swamp forest. It is also completely inside a fishing concession (Fishing Lot No. 2 of Battambang Province),and the area is commercially fished on an industrial scale between January and July, severely restricting access to people who are not employees of the concessionaire. The waterbird colonies of Prek Toal contain some of the world's largest numbers of Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis and Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius, and Prek Toal is perhaps the only site in world where Milky Stork Mycteria cinerea breeds in freshwater. In addition, the IBA supports significant wet season breeding populations of Darter Anhinga melanogaster and Grey-headed Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus, and, Masked Finfoot Heliopais personata, young chicks of which have been recorded.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Milky Stork Mycteria cinerea||resident||1998||rare [units unknown]||-||A1, A4i||Vulnerable|
|Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala||resident||1998||abundant [units unknown]||-||A4i||Near Threatened|
|Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans||resident||1998||abundant [units unknown]||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus||resident||1998||abundant [units unknown]||-||A1, A4i||Vulnerable|
|Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius||resident||1998||rare [units unknown]||-||A1, A4i||Endangered|
|Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus||resident||1998||abundant [units unknown]||-||A4i||Near Threatened|
|Great Egret Casmerodius albus||resident||1998||abundant [units unknown]||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis||resident||1998||abundant [units unknown]||-||A1, A4i||Near Threatened|
|Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger||resident||1998||abundant [units unknown]||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Indian Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscicollis||resident||1998||abundant [units unknown]||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster||resident||1998||abundant [units unknown]||-||A4i||Near Threatened|
|Masked Finfoot Heliopais personatus||unknown||1998||rare [units unknown]||-||A1, A3||Endangered|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||breeding||1998||20,000 individuals||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Prek Toal||Multiple Use Management Area - Core Area||21,342||protected area contained by site||21,342|
|Tonle Sap||UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve||1,481,257||protected area overlaps with site||21,342|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Wetlands (inland)||Ephemeral wetlands; Freshwater lakes and pools; Permanent swamps; Rivers and streams||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
|Notes: small settlements|
Other biodiversity Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) occurs in the area (critical endangered). Also Long tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) near threatened. Extremely important for many fish species (Ramboth 1996). Important botanical community (McDonald et al. 1997). Turtle populations little known but said to be decreasing.
Management considerations Collection of eggs and chicks at the nest remains the single most threat to the continued survival of colonial waterbirds on the Tonle Sap. Teams of large waterbird collectors target breeding colonies of cormorants, pelicans, storks and ibises for egg and chick collection and organise several trips into the flooded forest during the breeding season. The intervention of government officials and international conservation teams, and the establishment of the Prek Toal Environmental station have significantly improved the situation in this vital breeding site since 1997. Collection undertaken by Tonle Sap people (fishermen) has been significantly reduced, but it is reportedly still conducted by farmers moving to the lake from upland areas in Battambang Province. Aside from fish, the main income derived from the natural resources of the inundated forest is firewood. Firewood collection for local cooking consumption is believed to be sustainable as the flooded forest vegetation is remarkably resilient, resprouting very rapidly after cutting. However, particular targeting of large trees may adversely affect availability of nesting sites for the large waterbirds.
Conservation response Recommendations;- The current conservation initiative with the local conservation team protecting the bird colonies should be further supported and expanded through the recruitment of additional village personnel and the supply of further training and resources.- The Prek Toal Core Area should be removed from the fishing lot system and give conservation status as a Fish Sanctuary under the Fisheries Law.- Appropriate Government personnel should work with the local conservation team to control illegal hunting and fishing activities in the Prek Toal Core Area by enforcing both the Forestry and Fisheries law.- Work with the local authorities to establish rules and structures for ecotourism, particularly focusing on minimizing disturbance to the colonies and distributing proceeds equitably within the local community.- Current environmental education initiatives working with both adults and children, but particularly through the local schools should be further supported and expanded into all communities in the area.- Further survey and research should be initiated to identify key feeding areas during the breeding season and to establish a long-term monitoring program for bird numbers.
References Silvered Langur (Semnopithecus cristatus), Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis), Slow Loris (Nycticebus coucang) (Long Kheng, Ministry of Environment, pers. comm.).Asiatic Softshell Turtle (Amyda cartilaginea), Malayan Box Turtle (Cuora ambionensis), Malayan Snail-eating Turtle (Malayemys subtrijuga), Yellow-headed Temple Turtle (Hieremys annandalii), Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) (Long Kheng, Ministry of Environment, pers. comm.).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Prek Toal. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2013
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