Mahood, S.P., Silva, J.P., Dolman, P.M. & Burnside, R.J. (2018) Proposed power transmission lines in Cambodia constitute a significant new threat to the largest population of the Critically Endangered Bengal florican Houbaropsis bengalensis.Oryx, 52(1), 147-155. DOI:10.1017/S0030605316000739 (IF2018 2,801; Q2 Biodiversity Conservation)
The remaining Indochina population of the Critically Endangered Bengal florican Houbaropsis bengalensis breeds in the floodplain of Cambodia's Tonle Sap Lake. The population has declined substantially but survival rates have not been published previously. Survival could potentially be reduced by the planned construction of high-tension power transmission lines that may begin in 2016. Using data from 17 individuals monitored by satellite transmitters over 4 years we estimated the annual adult survival rate to be 89.9% (95% CI 82.2–97.6%), which is comparable to that of other bustards. Interrogation of movement paths revealed that for the 13 individuals for which we had sufficient data for non-breeding seasons, all annual migration routes between breeding and non-breeding areas crossed the proposed route of the transmission line. The route also impinged on the margins of one important and one minor breeding concentration. A review of bustard collision rates confirmed the vulnerability of bustards to power lines, and the proposed development therefore presents an additional threat to the future of this species in Indochina.