Ministry of Environment secretary of state and spokesman Neth Pheaktra led a group of journalists, government officials, NGO and non-profit organisation employees to visit the Kulen Promtep and Chheb wildlife sanctuaries in Preah Vihear province on Tuesday.
The objective was to inspect a conservation project geared towards saving wild animals and promoting livelihoods.
The more than 20 journalists from 13 institutions and officials from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the USAID Greening Prey Lang Project (USAID GLP) will visit a Bengal Florican Conservation Area located in Kampong Thom and Siem Reap provinces on Wednesday.
Pheaktra said: “The visit is to learn about and inspect the progress of the project, which aims to save wild animals. We will take a census of vultures on June 10 and visit the Bengal Florican Conservation Area north of Tonle Sap lake in Kampong Thom and Siem Reap provinces.”
He said the project focused on the conservation of the giant ibis, an endangered bird. Methods of conservation include offering locals alternatives such as farming organic rice instead of cutting down forests and hunting animals for income.
In a joint press release published by USAID, WCS, and the ministry on Tuesday, Veena Reddy, the USAID/Cambodia mission director, said: “We are pleased to continue our support, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We will help to create jobs, improve livelihoods, and conserve Cambodia’s natural and cultural heritage in and around Cambodia’s protected areas by supporting organic and wildlife-friendly rice production and community-based ecotourism.”
During the visit, the delegation will participate in a signing ceremony of a grant extension provided by USAID GPL to Sansom Mlup Prey (SMP), a local sustainable agriculture organisation which promotes wildlife-friendly agriculture in communities living in and around Cambodia’s protected areas.
The country programme director for WCS Cambodia Ken Sereyrotha told The Post on Tuesday that the visit was a special opportunity to see firsthand the effects of the conservation project.
The USAID GPL project is a five-year programme that promotes resilient, low-emission development and inclusive sustainable management in the Prey Lang Extended Landscape through a focus on communities, conservation, and improved governance.