By Mengey Eng
| March 18, 2018
Some 210 young students from Chhouk primary school in Stoeung district of Kampong Thom Province and Wat Preahhout primary school in Chikreng district of Siem Reap Province paid a visit to Northern Tonle Sap Protected Landscape (NTSPL) to see the Critically Endangered Bengal Floricans and understand about their natural habitat.
The Bengal Florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis) is listed on IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered, with a global population of fewer than 800 individuals. Cambodia is the most important country worldwide for Bengal Florican conservation. University of East Anglia (UEA) researchers showed that approximately 432 Bengal Floricans remain in the country.
“These young students have played a key role in protecting Bengal Florican and other waterbirds in the NTSPL because they are the key persons who always find the nest of this bird and guarding it over the past years,” said Nheb Nguen, WCS’s Bengal Florican Conservation Project Assistant who led the study tour for this young students.
“Making them all aware of the importance of conserving the Bengal Florican and other birds for ecotourism project that allows local communities to earn money to support their livelihood and fund for village development will encourage them to join in conservation and can reduce threats on wildlife protection, such as poaching and egg collection,” he added.
The NTSPL was established in 2016 from the Bengal Florican Conservation Areas that had previously been managed by the Forestry Administration, and covers 31,159 hectares in Kampong Thom and Siem Reap provinces. WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) works closely with the Ministry of Environment to conserve the NTSPL and the important wildlife that it supports, including the Bengal Florican, through various conservation activities such as assisting law enforcement, bird nest protection, sustainable agriculture, and raising community awareness.