Blue eared kingfishersun bearpangolin


CAMBODIA FOREST

Project Goal 

To improve protection of the fauna and flora of the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, especially rare and 
endangered species, by providing information on the distribution and conservation status of key species, 
and by working with local communities to improve the way natural resources are managed. 

Project location 

Oddar Meanchey Province, northern Cambodia
Site: Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary (IUCN category IV protected area) 

Activities

Broad biodiversity surveys across all animal taxa, to build up species inventories for unsurveyed areas;

Camera trapping to survey shy and nocturnal wildlife, especially endangered mammals, to improve
   understanding of their current conservation status;
Sign surveys of key endangered species (including sun bear) to assess distribution and conservation 
   status; 
Assessments of the effects of human disturbance on diversity and abundance of herpetofauna and
   small mammals;
Investigations into ‘edge effects’ caused by forest clearance, focussing on invertebrates as 
   indicator species; 
Community interviews and socio-economic surveys, to gather information on wildlife sightings and to    
   begin assessing local livelihood priorities and patterns of resource use.

Background

Cambodia is situated on the Indochinese peninsula and neighbours Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. It has one
of the poorest economies in Asia, with 40% of the population living below the poverty line. Cambodia is rich
in biodiversity (forming part of the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot) and it contains some of the largest 
remaining areas of habitat in SE Asia. It is also home to some of the world’s most endangered wildlife 
including the Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus), fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), sun bear 
(Helarctos malayanus), Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), greater adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius) and tiger
(Panthera tigris). However, threats to the country’s biodiversity and natural resources are critical. 
Deforestation rates in Cambodia are the third highest in the world and the country’s primary rainforest 
cover fell from 70% of total land area in 1970 to 3.1% in 2007. Last year primary forest cover was thought
to be as little as 1.8%. Such rapid habitat loss is the result of slash-and-burn agriculture, timber extraction
by rural communities, and large scale logging by big businesses. Hunting for the wildlife trade is also a big 
problem for biodiversity conservation. The increasingly high value of products derived from some species 
has put them at risk even within protected areas. 

SEE has worked in Cambodia since 2003 and in the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary since January 2011.
This protected area spans three provinces in northern Cambodia (Siem Reap, Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey) and is the largest protected area in the country, at approximately 1 million acres. It contains a 
matrix of different forest types, including tropical evergreen forest, and also Cambodia’s largest swamp. It 
is part of the Northern Plains Dry Forest Priority Corridor which was initially set up to protect the 
endangered, and possibly extinct, kouprey (wild ox). SEE’s work is focussed in the north-western (Oddar
Meanchey) section of the reserve.

The initial focus of our project is to conduct baseline biodiversity surveys, focusing particularly on rare and
endangered species. The aim is to support local institutions to manage the protected area by providing 
baseline information, including species inventories, for specific areas that have not previously been 
surveyed. Once these surveys have been conducted, the project will begin species-specific studies. 
Alongside this, we are conducting socio-economic surveys within local communities, to gather information 
on local livelihood priorities and patterns of resource use.

Past achievements in Cambodia

SEE’s current project in the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary is relatively new (commencing in January 
2011) but we have been working in Cambodia since 2003 and have previously conducted extensive surveys
and conservation work in Ream National Park, Botum Sakor National Park and the Tonle Sap wetlands. 
Our work in Ream National Park (also known as Preah Sihanouk), was incorporated into a management 
plan for the park. 

Over the past five years, SEE’s researchers have identified or confirmed the presence in Cambodia of a continually growing list of threatened species including: Siamese crocodile, Crocodylus siamensis (Critically Endangered), white winged duck, Cairina scutulata (Endangered), dhole, Cuon alpinus (Endangered), 
banteng, Bos javanicus birmanicus (Endangered), fishing cat, Prionailurus viverrinus (Endangered), and 
hairy nosed otter, Lutra sumatrana (Endangered). 

SEE also spent more than 10 years working to protect wildlife and habitats in neighbouring Vietnam




Project partners & staff


SEE’s partners in Cambodia include:
Staff of the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary
The Ministry of the Environment (MoE)

SEE’s field team is comprised of a Country Coordinator, a Principal Investigator, several Research Officers, 
Park Rangers, a Community Liaison Officer and a team of voluntary Research Assistants.