In late February, Naturelife Cambodia provided micro-funding to four communities in the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in support of the effective management of natural resources and to promote community participation in the protection of the sanctuary.

Bou Vorsak, Cambodia programme manager at BirdLife International, told The Post on March 13 that Naturelife Cambodia – a conservation organisation established with support from BirdLife International and financial support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund – had pledged to fund the O’Koki and O’Ray community protected areas and the Sre Chrey biodiversity resource conservation community.

“This one-year mini-project will focus on key activities such as patrols to reduce forestry crime in the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary community, outreach programmes with community members, and the strengthening of cooperation with local authorities,” he said.

He added that the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary has the potential to become a future carbon credit project, so it is important that the public participate in its protection. It is also rich in biodiversity and rare species of wildlife, including giant ibis and red-headed vulture.

He said NatureLife Cambodia had helped to establish these four community protected areas many years before they gained the Ministry of Environment’s full recognition. The communities protected the forest resources in their areas, and the organisation recommended additional funding to improve natural resource management further.

Vorsak said about $5,000 had been pledged for activities in each community for the next year. The four communities consist of 10 villages, nine of which are in the Ratanakkiri province part of the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary. The final village is in the Mondulkiri province part of the sanctuary.

The government issued a sub-decree in January 2017 which organised the management of the wildlife sanctuary – which spans 250,000ha – to ensure its efficiency and to encourage participation by local communities and the general public alike.

The sanctuary was divided into four management areas to more easily carry out the work of conservation and creating sustainable socio-economic development.