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Cambodia's dwindling assets

Cambodia's dwindling assets

T

HE Kingdom of Cambodia is one of the few remaining unspoiled wildlife areas in

the world.

The country still has some of the the largest areas of

deciduos and evergreen forest remaining in southeast Asia, covering some 90,000

sq km, or 50 percent of the land mass.

Many species of wild animal that

are very rare or extinct in neighboring Thailand,Vietnam, Laos are still

relatively common here.

The "big cats" like tigers (Panthera tigris) and

leopards (Panthera pardus) animals that are endangered in the rest of the world

are present in reasonable numbers in Cambodia.

Chhim Somean, director of

the Wildlife Protection Office, estimates there are 200 tigers and 300 leopards,

though from the number of skins on sale this figure appears conservative.

There are also an unknown number of the extremely rare clouded leopards

(Neofelis nebulosa). Post reporters were offered skins of the beast in the

Street 168 shops.

Other animals are extremely rare. For example it is

thought there are only between two and five head of the Sumatra rhinoceros

(Dicerorhinus suma-trensis). Cambodia is also famous for her wild cattle:

banteng (Bos javanicus), gaur (Bos gaurus), and the kouprey (Bos sauveli) one

time present in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and today thought to be present only in

Cambodia. Again numbers remaining are difficult to estimate, perhaps 1,000 head

of banteng, 500-800 head of gaur. Confirmed kouprey sightings have not been made

since the Sixties, though an expedition led by the Post's Senior Correspondent

Nate Thayer in April to a remote part of Mondolkiri province found evidence of

possibly ten head.

Another rare animal is the Eld's deer (Cervus eldi)

once quite common in Thailand and Vietnam and now present only in Cambodia.

There are estimated to be only a few thousand left.

The country still has some of the the largest areas of

deciduos and evergreen forest remaining in southeast Asia, covering some 90,000

sq km, or 50 percent of the land mass.

Many species of wild animal that

are very rare or extinct in neighboring Thailand,Vietnam, Laos are still

relatively common here.

The "big cats" like tigers (Panthera tigris) and

leopards (Panthera pardus) animals that are endangered in the rest of the world

are present in reasonable numbers in Cambodia.

Chhim Somean, director of

the Wildlife Protection Office, estimates there are 200 tigers and 300 leopards,

though from the number of skins on sale this figure appears conservative.

There are also an unknown number of the extremely rare clouded leopards

(Neofelis nebulosa). Post reporters were offered skins of the beast in the

Street 168 shops.

Other animals are extremely rare. For example it is

thought there are only between two and five head of the Sumatra rhinoceros

(Dicerorhinus suma-trensis). Cambodia is also famous for her wild cattle:

banteng (Bos javanicus), gaur (Bos gaurus), and the kouprey (Bos sauveli) one

time present in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and today thought to be present only in

Cambodia. Again numbers remaining are difficult to estimate, perhaps 1,000 head

of banteng, 500-800 head of gaur. Confirmed kouprey sightings have not been made

since the Sixties, though an expedition led by the Post's Senior Correspondent

Nate Thayer in April to a remote part of Mondolkiri province found evidence of

possibly ten head.

Another rare animal is the Eld's deer (Cervus eldi)

once quite common in Thailand and Vietnam and now present only in Cambodia.

There are estimated to be only a few thousand left.

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