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Diverse Wildlife Thrives in Battambang's Limestone Mountains

BATTAMBANG: The limestone mountain landscape in Battambang province is home to a rich diversity of wildlife, including rare and endangered mammals, according to Mr. Khvay Atiya, Undersecretary of State and spokesman for the Ministry of Environment. This discovery emerged from a collaborative effort involving the Ministry of Environment, the Cambodian Wildlife and Fauna (FFI), the Battambang Provincial Administration, local authorities, and communities, who installed over 30 automatic cameras in January 2024 to monitor biodiversity.

The initiative, part of an EU-funded conservation project titled "Biodiversity Conservation to Reduce Risk of Infectious Diseases," aims to protect the unique limestone mountain ecosystems. The cameras have captured images of a variety of species, including lizards, cats, wild dogs, wolves, deer, monkeys, crabs, and wild chickens.

Mr. Khvay Atiya expressed pride in the research team's efforts, highlighting their hard work in documenting Cambodia's wildlife species for conservation and public awareness. He noted that these findings underscore the high level of biodiversity protection and conservation in Cambodia, particularly within its protected areas, which are seeing an increase in wildlife populations and overall health.

The Ministry of Environment, Mr. Khvay Atiya added, is committed to continuing its collaboration with partners, local authorities, communities, and the private sector to enhance conservation efforts. He emphasized the importance of the Ministry's environmental chakra strategy, which focuses on clean, green, and sustainable development. The "green" aspect of this strategy prioritizes planting at least 1 million trees annually, distributing seedlings through the "green shoots" campaign, and restoring forests in public places, schools, and pagodas to achieve a 60% forest cover by 2050.

Additionally, the Ministry aims to enforce laws rigorously, collaborating with various authorities and the Anti-Corruption Unit to combat natural resource crimes in protected areas. This effort is part of a broader initiative led by Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen to foster community participation in natural resource protection and conservation, while also improving local livelihoods through eco-tourism and sustainable business ventures.

Cambodia's limestone mountains, particularly in Battambang, Kampot, and Stung Treng provinces, are not only ecologically significant but also hold cultural value. These natural habitats support a wide array of wildlife, reinforcing the importance of ongoing conservation efforts to preserve the country's rich biodiversity.

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