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Officials seek to merge sanctuaries

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Officials are surveying the sanctuaries before compiling a report to the ministry. Environment Ministry

Officials seek to merge sanctuaries

The Preah Vihear Provincial Administration is preparing documents for the Ministry of Environment to merge the Prey Preah Roka and Chheb wildlife sanctuaries for better management. Once approved, they will be named Preah Rokar-Chheb Wildlife Sanctuary.

The sanctuaries are known to be rich in natural resources and home to vultures.

Provincial deputy governor Sou Serey told The Post that the proposal was made at a joint meeting on August 10.

“Previously, the management of these two wildlife sanctuaries was separate. Because our human resources in the province are limited, we see it necessary to reduce the cost of both human and material resources. The merger is good for better management of the area,” he said.

Serey said the two wildlife sanctuaries span over 280,000ha with only around two dozen rangers protecting the area. The local communities in this area collect non-timber forest products from the sanctuaries for a living.

Serey said with the two sanctuaries separated, rangers find them difficult to manage.

Provincial Department of Environment director Song Chan Socheat said a working group is currently surveying the sanctuaries before compiling a report to the environment ministry for approval from the government.

“We are working to gather more detailed information at some locations in the Chheb Wildlife Sanctuary,” he said.

Chan Socheat said because the two sanctuaries are rich in biodiversity and wildlife, especially vultures, they are regarded as potential eco-tourism sites.

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