Insider Tip – Biodiversity Conservation in Cambodia
Product & Operations Manager, Nick Packham, looks at how Cambodia is trying to protect its biodiversity and natural resources in this Khiri Travel Insider Tip.
Cambodia is a country rich in wildlife biodiversity and natural resources. However, as with the other countries of Southeast Asia and much of the rest of the world, Cambodia’s natural resources and wild animals are increasingly under threat from deforestation and habitat destruction due to expanding human populations. It is a country caught between a rock and a hard place. The Khmer government wants to develop the economy and improve conditions for its people. They also understand the need for conservation, have enacted laws against logging and deforestation and have opened their doors in recent years to many international NGO wildlife conservation organizations.
However there is a still a huge struggle for wildlife to thrive in areas where local villagers have little resources and knowledge of their impact on the natural environment and wildlife populations. Khiri Travel Cambodia works alongside conservation and community development organizations to support the education of local people on the importance of environmental protection as a vital part in the sustainable development of their communities.
There is a future for wildlife tourism in Cambodia—not in zoos and elephant riding, but in animal welfare and rehabilitation programs. The focus should be on strengthening animal populations, not just using them for profit. A good example of a sustainable use of animals in tourism is the Elephant Valley Project (EVP) where visitors can enjoy an intimate experience with elephants in Mondulkiri Province. EVP relies on teaching visitors about elephants, their habitat and social environment as well as how the elephants have character and unique personalities. Guests of the Elephant Valley Project can feel very satisfied that what they are doing is contributing to the animal’s health and wellbeing.
There are also other wildlife conservation organizations in Cambodia such as Free the Bears, an outfit that focuses on rehabilitation and rescue, with the aim of releasing animals back into the wild to ensure the growth of future populations. Other NGO projects train former poachers for sustainable employment as guides and protectors of the animals they used to hunt. Local people have job opportunities supplying accommodations such as bungalows, guesthouses and restaurants to the people who come to do the trekking and wildlife tours.
Product & Operations Manager
Khiri Travel Cambodia