Asian openbill storks migrate to Dien Bien (Source: VNA)
Dien Bien (VNA) – The People’s Committee of the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien has urged its localities and agencies to intensify measures to protect migrant Asian openbill storks - a species listed as extremely rare in Vietnam’s Red Book.

In its document dispatched on May 11, the committee asked Dien Bien Phu city and districts to steer their communes and offices to safeguard openbill storks and wild animals by encouraging locals not to hunt for and keep them illegally and not to use wildlife products.

The transport, slaughter and trading of endangered animals and birds, particularly Asian openbill storks, are prohibited.

Forest wardens were requested to coordinate with authorised offices and localities to increase patrols and inspections to timely detect any violations, targeting Dien Bien Phu city, Dien Bien district and Muong Lay town.

The storks inhabit South and Southeast Asian countries including India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

In Vietnam, they are known as co nhan (swallow) or co oc (snail storks) since they mainly eat snails. They also eat frogs, crabs, large insects and other small living things. They are mostly seen in the country’s southwestern region.

According to the Vietnam Association for the Conservation of Nature and Environment, the number of storks has decreased sharply over the past few years, putting them on the verge of extinction.

The heavy, gentle storks are an easy target as they seek food in the rice fields, it said.-VNA