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December 31, 2009

Despite the success of conservation efforts in the Tonle Sap Lake and floodplain, a recent threats assessment indicates that there are still a number of illegal activities that threaten biodiversity in the area.

There are worries that uncontrolled developments in the outer floodplain are destroying much important habitat and may also have negative impacts on the overall ecosystem. In particular, dams and irrigation channels obstruct water flow and fish migration and heavy use of chemicals may pollute the environment and kill many living organisms.

The establishment of the invasive plant Mimosa pigra is also often noted in areas with dry season rice cultivation, probably due to seed import through earth moving equipment such as excavators and tractors. The increased contact between people and wildlife is not to the benefit of wildlife and hunting pressure may be increasing as a result.

The use of poisons within the Boeung Tonle Chhmar Core Area has been recently reported to be extensive and this practice is likely to occur elsewhere as well.

Besides using poisoned fish bait to kill waterbirds and other wildlife the collection of bird eggs from nests was also reported here, but the species were not identified. Such practices are also likely to occur elsewhere. Numerous illegal fishing practices are routinely employed throughout the floodplain, reducing fish stocks and damaging habitat.