Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary Collaborative Conservation Program
Since 2007, our Collaborative Conservation Program in Cambodia has supported local communities and government officials in the north eastern plans to protect wildlife and habitats in and around the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary. Through this program, we have focused on establishing and supporting collaboration between villagers and forest protection officers in conservation of tiger prey and habitat. We have also helped to establish Community Conservation Areas inside the sanctuary and Community Fishery Groups along the Srepok River abutting the sanctuary. Our work in the landscape helped to establish the zonation to Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, which was defined with the full participation of local communities.
Our program on collaborative conservation supports joint management of biodiversity values in the greater landscape of Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary.
We achieve our aim by connecting local people, sanctuary officials, and private companies in consistent communication about conservation needs, interests, and efforts.
Community Conservation Areas
PRCF Cambodia supports the creation of Community Conservation Areas, for which villagers identify their conservation priorities, and select an area to be protected.
Our objective is to support at least five Community Conservation Areas in the landscape; two have already been established at Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary.
Community Fishery Groups
We promote sustainable fishing practice in the Srepok River by helping to establish Community Fishery Groups. These groups use and promote sustainable fishing practices that support their livelihoods while helping to prevent unsustainable fishing practices. We provide fisheries groups with training and tools that empower them to monitor fish catch.
We aim to establish and support at least nine Community Fishery Groups before 2018. To date, six Community Fishery Groups have been created.
While Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary is designated for biodiversity conservation, not all areas are effectively protected. We research high priority conservation areas within the sanctuary and map zones to ensure spaces have the proper protection.
We produced a zonation plan for the sanctuary with internal zones defined for: Strict protection, General conservation, Multiple use, and Community use.
Giant and White-shouldered Ibis Community Program
The Giant Ibis and the White-shouldered Ibis are critically endangered waterbirds living in and near Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary. Once widely distributed in Southeast Asia, they birds are now at risk of extinction due to hunting and human disturbance in their habitats. We promote ibis conservation through researching its habitat, particularly its nesting and roosting grounds, and engaging local villagers in monitoring and protecting ibis nesting.
Ibis Habitat Research
To better understand and support conservation needs of Giant and White-shouldered Ibises, PRCF Cambodia researches nesting and feeding areas of species. This involves setting up and monitoring surveys of wading, nesting, and roosting grounds in the landscapes of Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary and O’Yadab National Park. Further conservation work includes community-based nest protection programs that safeguard Ibis nests from human and wildlife predators.
We understand that conservation efforts are most successful when supported and led by local communities. PCRF Cambodia involves local people in planning, implementation, and evaluation of Ibis conservation efforts. Our ibis conservation program has supported the establishment of two community-based organisations to ensure future sustainability of conservation efforts. We have also worked with local school children to develop environmental awareness activities that promote Ibis conservation in their communities.
Srepok River Protection Program
The Srepok River is a major source of food and income for local communities. However, lack of clear resource use regulations and expansion of private companies in the area threaten the river’s resources. To ensure the viability of Srepok’s resources, we promote protection of fisheries, provide training for sustainable fishing practices, and contribute small grants to community-based conservation and monitoring of important fishery pools and spawning areas.
We support communities to protect high priority spawning areas of the Srepok River in areas abutting Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary and O’Yadab National Park. This includes training to local people on monitoring fish catch in critical river areas, and on the defining and mapping of critical fish spawning grounds and fish pools. Seven target areas have thus far been identified as high conservation priority, and they are now subject to regular protection patrols by the community fisheries groups.
Sustainable Fishing Practices
Our Srepok River Protection Program trains local fishery communities in sustainable fishing practices to protect sensitive and important areas of the river, like spawning grounds and pools.
Over several years, we have provided small grants to local fisheries groups to support their conservation activities. As funding to the program replenishes, we propose to expand the community fisheries network and small grants program. Next time around, we will establish a locally-managed small grants scheme and try to secure continuously replenishing funding sources.
We provide small grants to the local communities via Village Self Help Groups so they can improve their livelihood conditions as they help protect their environment.
Thus far use of grant monies have proven to be effective to support the local villagers in more productive and sustainable agriculture practices.