Our Cambodia program is led by Goldman Environmental Prize winner and National Geographic Explorer Tuy Sereivathana (Vathana), who is building on 20+ years of successful community-based Asian elephant conservation. Vathana’s holistic approach combines ecological monitoring and research of key elephant populations; improving habitat management; reducing human-elephant conflicts and improving livelihoods in rural communities who share land with elephants and other important wildlife.
Prey Lang Forest is the largest remaining lowland evergreen forest in the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot, encompassing eight different forest habitats that are home to at least 55 threatened species, including the endangered Asian elephant, a keystone species upon which the health of the ecosystem depends. During the last decade, Prey Lang forest has undergone habitat loss and fragmentation due to illegal logging and unsustainable forest management. This destruction and encroachment on the forest is also of great concern to indigenous Kuy people living in Prey Lang, who for centuries have sustainably relied on the forest’s natural resources for their livelihoods.
We are implementing targeted actions so that Asian elephants and other threatened wildlife species flourish in Prey Lang while this important ecosystem sustains traditional livelihoods and regional prosperity. Actions include elephant monitoring, research and protection; forest habitat protection; conservation education and awareness raising; and protected area management.
Camera Traps in Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary
A key feature of our Cambodia team’s conservation work is the installation and monitoring of camera traps in the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary, Stung Teng Province. As of January, 2018, 24 animal species have been recorded on camera. This includes six species that have been identified by the IUCN Red List as threatened: Asian elephants (Endangered), gaurs (Vulnerable), sun bears (Vulnerable), binturongs (Vulnerable), smooth coated otters (Vulnerable), and silvered langurs (Endangered).
These rare images were captured in remote areas of Prey Lang Forest in challenging terrain. The result is a snapshot of the incredible diversity of species that make their home in the lowland evergreen forest.
Asian elephants are keystone species that play an important role in threatened ecosystems.