The biodiversity and science team from Conservation International (CI) Cambodia, in collaboration with rangers from the Ministry of Environment, are conducting a camera trap distance sampling pilot study in the Central Cardamom Mountain National Park.

This pilot study is part of a long-term biodiversity monitoring plan for the Central Cardamom REDD+ Project. The study was implemented with financial supports from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through USAID Morodok Baitang and CI’s own funding.

REDD+ projects are carbon credit projects where Cambodian communities benefit financially by preventing deforestation and maintaining local biodiversity.

The team said the camera trap distance sampling pilot study was conducted in collaboration with seven rangers from the provincial environment departments of Pursat, Kampong Speu and Koh Kong, along with 15 local researchers.

“The multi-stakeholder team deployed 30 camera traps and CI staff trained 22 rangers and local researchers in how to set up, deploy and retrieve camera traps. They were also trained in using KoboCollect to input camera trap data into digital formats while in the field,” said a joint press release.

Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on February 15 that this sampling pilot study is part of a project wherein the ministry cooperated with USAID to collect biodiversity information in the Central Cardamom Mountain area.

He added that the study aims to identify a wide variety of animals as Cambodia is recognised as a country that is rich in biodiversity. Previous studies have estimated that Cambodia has up to 5,000 species of animals and this study will help the Kingdom find more species to put on its biodiversity list.

“It is necessary for us to conduct studies and research to precisely identify animal species in the wild so that it will be easy for us to plan protection and conservation for them and we can identify other areas to protect,” he said. “When we have clear data, we will prepare clear and correct plans in protecting our biodiversity resources more effectively.”

He continued that, in collaboration with relevant partners, several studies of mammals in protected areas have been conducted, especially in the Tonle Sap Lake area. The use of camera traps has found that Cambodia has many large animals still present like elephants, tigers and sambar, among others.

In October of 2022, the biodiversity and science team from CI Cambodia cooperated with bird experts to identify the sounds of birds in the Cardamom Mountains. They analysed data on nearly 100 species of birds to compile a scientific report.

Some of the birds they identified included species of barbets, hornbills, broadbills, orioles, bluebirds, firebacks, bee-eaters, flycatchers and woodpeckers, among others.