More work is needed to improve the formal legal protection of the species in India and China. See Range States pages to understand more about legal protection in individual range countries.
Where legal protection is in-place (Bhutan and Myanmar), it is necessary to better understand where and when violations are occurring and for what reasons. Hunting is likely to be occurring in parts of the species range, possibly indiscriminately, but lack of enforcement and awareness raising measures are likely to mean that people are either unaware of laws to protect the species or feel it is unlikely they will be punished for breaking the law.
Nervous and flight behaviour (where the species purposefully avoids humans) is a key indicator that the bird is being persecuted.
Illegal activities including sand mining and fishing within protected areas are also thought to disturb and threaten the species and must be better understood and curtailed to protect it.
Collisions with cables, construction of dams and other infrastructure are also threatening the survival of White-bellied Heron. Commitments to protect the species must consider both local level and industrial scale threats.