Since 2003, PRCF Cambodia has focused on supporting local communities and government agencies to protect biodiversity and habita values within the greater landscape of Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, which includes portions of the Srepok River and adjacent lowland dipterocarp forests. To this end, we work to empower local communities to practice conservation management, support law enforcement to uphold national conservation laws, and promote collaborative conservation management between protected area authorities and local communities to protect endangered species and their habitat.
PRCF Cambodia empowers communities to engage in conservation of their natural resources. Because often villagers use lands within protected lands to support their livelihoods, and recognising the importance of both conservation and community livelihoods, we try to establish measures that protect biodiversity while at the same time promote sustainable livelihoods. To support both communities and conservation, we facilitate discussions between villagers and law enforcement officials to collaborative in management initiatives and train local farmers and fishermen to use resources sustainably.
We have been successful at establishing Community Protected Areas (CPA) in Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, with a first CPA established at Serey Mongkol, and another in the working at Thmey/ Shre Chouk. The designation of additional CPAs in the sanctuary will help stabilize protected forests and promote conservation initiatives by local communities, who will conduct patrols and monitor for transgressions within designated CPA jurisdictions.
We have also helped to establish Community Fisheries (CFIs) and provided support to help increase CFI monitoring effectiveness on the use of freshwater resources, and conservation in key spawning lagoons in the Srepok River abutting Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary. Target CFIs on the Srepok River include Lomphat Krom/ Chrey Oddom CFi, Keng Sann CFi, and Srae Chrey CFi, representing the villages of Kaeng San, Srey Chrey, Ban Mai, Lomphat , Srey Chuuk, Srepok Thom, and Sre Angkrong.
Support law enforcement
Agencies responsible for the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary and surrounding areas lack funding to support effective law enforcement. This under-funding results in inadequate numbers of law enforcement personnel and insufficient training.
To address this der-funding, we provide equipment for law enforcement officials to identify high priority areas for patrols, which supports efficient use of patrolling time. Additionally, we provide law enforcement with training on best practices to identify and protect high priority habitats, and to record the results of monitoring activities, particularly direct encounters with endangered species or clear signs of wildlife in the landscape.
Protect Endangered Species
There are 53 key species of endangered wildlife in and around the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary. PRCF Cambodia has initiated conservation efforts for several specific animals identified as most at-risk of extinction. These species include tigers and tiger prey such as wild cattle (Banteng) and Indian bison (Gaur), and the critically endangered Giant Ibis and White-shouldered Ibis waterbirds.
To protect these animals, PRCF Cambodia has worked closely with local communities and law enforcement to develop conservation initiatives and provide awareness and education on biodiversity conservation. The involvement of local communities and law enforcement officials has been essential to carry out conservation plans. In fact, one of the local schools supported our efforts through designing a poster to promote conservation of the Giant and White-shouldered ibis.