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Animal rescue centre is worth a visit

A brahminy kite pictured at the Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity
A brahminy kite pictured at the Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity. Photograph supplied

The Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB) sits on 25 hectares of  land at the base of Kbal Spean mountain, 40 kilometers north of Siem Reap.

It’s well worth a visit as it’s the first nature conservation centre in Cambodia that’s been prepared as a “nest” or rescue centre for all kind of wild life in the north western region of the Kingdom, especially creatures on the endangered species such as the lesser adjutant and the greater adjutant birds.

The centre was created by Sam Veasna, a Cambodian biologist of international repute who died of malaria in December 1999.

One of the centre’s veterinarians, Marco Gastarotto told Siem Reap Insider that there are more than thirty species of animals in the centre, some of which were brought in by villagers for treatment after the animals were injured by hunters.

He talked about some of the centre’s “star” attractions, such as the greater adjutants that inhabit tropical wet lands in Southeast Asia, and have breeding sites limited to Assam in India, and Cambodia.

Marco said greater adjutant males and females can only be kept together in the breeding season from September until December.

“We keep females and males in different areas, because they can kill each other if they live together,” he said.

He added that adjutants are mainly endangered because of the loss of breeding grounds with the continuous loss of habitat.

He is also concerned about another other endangered animal, the pileated gibbon, which has a natural range covering western Cambodia, eastern Thailand and southwest Laos. He is worried that this species could soon be lost, and said, “Without any conservation, the pileated gibbon could disappear from Earth.”

Sorn Kim Sang, an ACCB staffer said that at the moment the centre is home to a range of animals.

“So far, more than 200 animal species have been recorded at ACCB and in the adjacent forest,” he said, adding that, “Most animals here have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade.”

He said the centre also provides wildlife conservation education and protection to villagers, adding, “Some villagers confuse the Indochinese silvered langur with normal monkeys, and then give them the wrong food, which can kill them.”

The centre is home to four silvered langurs, and is also home to the giant ibis Cambodia's national bird. It’s critically endangered with only about 100 pairs left in the wild.

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