In the first few months of 2022, BirdLife International Cambodia had restored 10 trapaengs, or watering holes, in Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in Ratanakkiri province to help wildlife survive the dry season.

In a press statement on April 2, the NGO said these trapaengs are a very important source for animals. Large waterbirds – including two adjutants, two other storks, two ibises, and one crane species – rely on the watering holes, which also provide an essential source of prey, especially in the dry season.

It said trapeangs as an ecological feature are to varying extents becoming increasingly degraded by many factors across the dry forest landscapes in Cambodia. Therefore, trapaeng restoration must take place because this will help maintain the ecosystem function for wildlife.

“In 2022, Birdlife Cambodia completely restored 10 trapaengs in Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary by manual digging in the dry season,” it said.

It added that all trapaengs were dug by local communities who were willing to get involved with this project. Local people were chosen to dig up these seasonal wetlands rather than bulldozing because the project wanted to ensure that it generated some income for the local people daily and connect them with conservation activities.

The NGO stated that after digging the watering holes, all of the restored trapaengs will be monitored for availability of water, vegetation cover and the accessibility to wildlife.