Wildlife Alliance and local authorities held a celebration ceremony in the Chumnoab commune of Koh Kong province’s Thma Bang district on September 26, 2023 to mark the anniversary of Stung Areng Community-Based Ecotourism and honour the Chorng Indigenous People.

Featuring more than 400 participants, the event was hosted by honorable guests Sok Sothy, Deputy Governor of Koh Kong, Dr Suwanna Gauntlett, CEO of Wildlife Alliance, Pheng Phal, Deputy District Governor of Thma Bang, Areng community members and especially the Chorng Indigenous People.

The purpose of the celebration was to promote and preserve the original identity and heritage of the Chorng indigenous communities.

Connecting the traditional identity and culture of the Chorng Indigenous People with the tourism activities of the Stung Areng Community Ecotourism Association aims to attract national and international tourists to the Areng Valley and contribute to increasing the incomes of the people in the three communes.

Dr Suwanna Gauntlett said she was delighted to be celebrating the Chorng community and highlighted their vital importance as guardians of the forest.

“Through the Southern Cardamom REDD+ project, Wildlife Alliance and the Ministry of Environment have helped 118 families of Chorng Indigenous People living in Chhay Areng, with 57 families in Chark Russei of Chumnoab commune and 61 in Kos Preik Svay of Thmor Danpov commune,” she said.

Koh Kong Deputy Governor Sok Sothy in his speech said the Chorng community had been living in the area for many decades and were considered vital to the forests.

He shared with villagers the plan of the Koh Kong provincial authorities to start land registration no later than January 2024, which was enthusiastically received by the participants, who clapped their hands in approval.

The ceremony concluded with a performance by Tith Nin on the traditional ploy instrument.

During lunch, renowned Koh Kong singer Vichet Reach serenaded participants with traditional love songs.