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National park to be run in south

National park to be run in south

A 150,000-hectare national park is to be established around the coastal town of

Ream, near Sihanoukville, to protect the environment and promote tourism.

In line with King Norodom Sihanouk's 1993 Royal decree calling for

national parks to be set up, the park is expected to inaugurated early this

year.

Dr Seng Oeurm, Secretary of State for Environment, said plants and

animals in much of the area had been virtually wiped out. More than half of the

pre-war forest which had stood in the area, including 30 per cent of mangrove

tree, had been destroyed.

The Ministry of Environment planned to free

wild animals caught in other areas into the park, to join the few remaining

tigers, deer and birds still there.

A 10-year plan would be implemented

to help preserve what tree saplings were still growing.

Signs would be

put up warning of a ban on hunting and wood-cutting, and an office set up to

monitor it.

Bordering parts of National Route 5 and the coastline, the

area was already a key tourist spot, and had great potential for recreational

activities. It was malaria-free, and had moderate weather and beautiful

mountainous landscape.

Tourists could go swimming or go looking for wild

animals.

The Ministry of Defense, which has a naval base at Ream, had

been asked to cooperate and "effectively" protect the National Park. "I will

control the environmental techniques and we ask the naval force to maintain it,"

Dr. Oeurm said.

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