The Ministry of Environment and its partner organisations are striving to protect more than 120 endangered species of wildlife and plants, playing a crucial role in ensuring the Kingdom remains home to some of the rarest wildlife in Southeast Asia, said ministry spokesperson Khvay Atitya. 

Atitya added that Cambodia has 73 natural protected areas, covering more than seven million hectares, or 40 per cent of the Kingdom’s total surface.

He explained that the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2016 and Protected Area Management Plan 2017-2031 listed the many rare species that could be found in Cambodia.

“The ministry and its partners are working together to preserve 127 separate species which are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list, including 34 types of mammal (out of 162 on the list) and 39 species of bird (out of 601),” he said.

He added that nine out of 135 IUCN-listed fish, 20 of 175 of reptiles and 2 of 72 amphibians are also under the ministry’s protection, along with 23 out of 3,113 types of plant. No insects are currently listed.

“Through our protection efforts, Cambodia is now home to some of the rarest and most critically endangered species in the world,” said Atitya.

The red-headed vulture, white-rumped Vulture and slender-billed vulture. Environment Ministry

He gave several examples, listing the Bengal florican, giant ibis, white-shouldered Ibis, greater adjutant, red-headed vulture, white-rumped Vulture, slender-billed vulture, Mekong Irrawaddy dolphin, giant stingray, black-shanked douc and Eld’s deer as just a few of the Kingdom’s natural resource treasures. 

He explained that their efforts aimed to protect them for future generation, as well as to preserve ecological systems and combat climate change towards a carbon-neutral 2050 vision.

“I call on all relevant parties and partners, especially protected community members, to collaborate more closely with the ministry to improve their local economies and protect our natural resources,” added Atitya.

ASIAN elephants maintain a significant presence in the Kingdom. Ministry of Environment

He also emphasised that the government will enforce the law without exception in any cases of natural resource crimes it discovered, while also reiterating its vision of achieving 60 per cent forest cover by 2050, as laid out in the seventh-mandate government’s Pentagonal Strategy.

The ministry joined with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to celebrate World Wildlife Day on March 3, raising awareness about the Kingdom’s natural treasures and the efforts to protect them.

USAID celebrated the day under the theme “Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation”. 

Clouded Leopard caught on camera.

The USAID Morodok Baitang Project announced that it had collaborated with Conservation International (CI) Cambodia to deploy more than 200 camera traps to record focal wildlife species for study and protection purposes. 

USAID also called on the public to refrain from consuming bush meat and increase individual efforts to conserve Cambodia’s precious natural heritage treasures for future generations.

Sarus cranes (Antigone antigone) are classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List. NatureLife Cambodia