The government had designated the Western Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary and Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary as one protected area, which is officially named as “Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary”.
The newly designated area of 133,707.73ha spans across Santepheap, Thma Keo and Prek Meas communes in Stung Treng province’s Siem Pang district.
The sub-decree dated November 6, was signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
It stipulates that the boundary and area of Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary will be updated and adjusted through scientific research and data gathering to ensure the protection and conservation of bio-diversity, the economy, society and culture.
The sub-decree said: “The Ministry of Environment has the authority to arrange and manage the Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary in cooperation with relevant ministries and institutions, as well as the Stung Treng provincial administration and armed forces.
“The establishment of Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary aims to ensure the protection of the environment and biodiversity, and sustainable use of natural resources following the provisions of the law.”
The administration of the wildlife sanctuary would also ensure the fulfilment of necessary living conditions for all species of animals and plants, and the provision of natural products and services for sustainable use.
Combining the Western Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary and Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary into one protected area would encourage local communities and the public to help in the management, protection and conservation of biodiversity and natural resources in the area.
Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra confirmed that the newly designated protected area will increase the efficiency of its management.
The move to redesignate the protected area reduces bureaucracy, making it easier to make management plans and save funds, since the two wildlife sanctuaries have the same geography and ecosystem.
“The two wildlife sanctuaries were formerly protected areas that had lots of birds. We previously conducted a study and requested the creation of only one protected forest for the conservation of plant resources and wildlife,” he said.
Pheaktra said before they were turned into the a combined sanctuary, the Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary, on its own, had an area of 66,932ha while the Western Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary covered an area of 65,389 ha.
He said the Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary and the Western Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary mostly have dry, sparse forest, while the rest of the area has thick forest and grassfields, which is part of the dry ecological tropical forest of the lower Mekong.
The protected area is part of a valuable biodiversity in the Indochina region and is very important for conservation. The area is home to a variety of animals, such as vultures, adjutants, elephants, bantengs, sarus cranes and more.
He said the redesignation of Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary and the Western Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary as only one protected area had received support from local authorities, relevant institutions, and partner organisations.
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) country director Ken Serey Rotha said the Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary is an area that accommodates rare and endangered animals that require effective conservation.
The Ministry of Environment said the government had increased the number of protected areas placed under the jurisdiction of the ministry.
All protected areas cover up to around 41 per cent of the the Kingdom’s landmass, equivalent to 7.2 million hectares and designates Cambodia to second place in Asia after Bhutan.
Currently, the ministry has 1,260 rangers carrying out patrols and implementing the law in a total of 56 protected areas and three biodiversity conservation corridors.
Meanwhile, the ministry also appealed to all parties to join the government in its effort to conserve natural resources that the Kingdom currently has for the next generation.