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King Grants Khmer Nationality to American Natural Resource Protector and Family

PHNOM PENH: The King of Cambodia has granted Khmer citizenship to an American man and his family after having worked in Cambodia for more than 20 years to help its forests and wildlife.

In a Royal Decree dated 26 January 2022, His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni ordered the granting of Cambodian nationality to Davis Benjamin Joseph’s family of four members. Davis Benjamin Joseph, known to most as Ben, is a natural resource protector in the Phnom Tnaot-Phnom Pok area. He is known to most Cambodians as a resource protector and nature lover.

Although Ben is not Cambodian, he sacrificed his physical and mental strength to preserve nature in Cambodia. He and his Australian wife have been involved in efforts to protect and conserve forest and wildlife area with the Royal Government of Cambodia for more than 20 years, until the establishment of the Phnom Tnaot-Phnom Pok Wildlife Sanctuary in Preah Vihear Province.

The Ministry of Environment, through its Secretary of State and Spokesman, Neth Pheaktra, expressed his happiness to Ben and his family who obtained Cambodian citizenship. "Congratulations to Ben and his family! This is a recognition of the heroism of true environmentalists and non-environmentalists on the report!” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Phnom Tnaot-Phnom Pok Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Preah Vihear and Siem Reap provinces with a total area of 42,097 hectares. Ben Davis has received permission from the Ministry of Environment to manage and conserve more than 7,000 hectares of natural resources and biodiversity.

The Natural Resources and Wildlife Conservation Area in Phnom Tnaot-Phnom Pok Wildlife Sanctuary was co-sponsored by the Ministry of Environment for Ben Davis’ ‘BeTreed’ project, and turned into a natural tourist destination.

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