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Kampong Thom wetland picked as the latest Ramsar Site

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Greater adjutants at Prek Toal, spotted in 2012. Wetlands cover a third of Cambodian territory. Eleanor Briggs/Wildlife Conservation Society

Kampong Thom wetland picked as the latest Ramsar Site

The Stung Sen wetland has become the Kingdom’s latest Ramsar Site, said the Ministry of Environment.

The seasonally-flooded 9,293ha freshwater swamp, located along the southeastern edge of the Tonle Sap great lake in Kampong Thom province, was declared Cambodia’s fifth Ramsar Site on Friday under a prime ministerial sub-decree.

A Ramsar Site is a wetland site designated to be of global importance under the Ramsar Convention – an international treaty governing the conservation of wetland areas.

Minister of Environment Dr Say Samal said the recognition will draw attention to Stung Sen’s international importance. “It will also be a bridge for Cambodia to nominate more wetlands as Ramsar Sites in the future,” he said.

Masaru Horikami, the director of the Japanese Environment Ministry’s Wildlife Division, lauded the recognition as “a result of cooperative and continuous efforts among various stakeholders”.

She said her team has been building the capacity of the site managers since 2016 “to ensure the ecosystem services at Stung Sen will be sustainably managed for the benefit of biodiversity and local livelihood.”

On the significance of Stung Sen, Reiko Iitsuka, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat’s senior adviser for the Asia/Oceania region, said: “The wetland is very important as habitats for a number of endangered species, including birds and mammals.”

She said her organisation will continue working with the Cambodian government to ensure sustainable wetland management and promote its wise use for the benefit of the local people and the environment.

She also noted that the Ramsar Convention Secretariat will continue supporting the government to designate more sites.

Wetlands cover about one-third of Cambodian territory, with the majority having been identified as globally important, due to the ecosystem services they provide and the populations of threatened species they support.

The Kingdom ratified the convention on October 23, 1999. Four Ramsar Sites had been designated prior to Stung Sen.

They are Boeung Chhmar in Kampong Thom province, Koh Kapik in Koh Kong province, middle stretches of the Mekong River in the north of Stung Treng province, and Prek Toal in Battambang province.

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