Call to save Siem Reap’s Kulen mountain

Sen David / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The Kulen Mountain waterfall. Supplied

Environment Minister Say Samal has called on local and international conservation groups to do more to protect Phnom Kulen National Park in Siem Reap.
Speaking at this year’s International Coordinating Committee for safeguarding Angkor event, Mr Samal said increasing numbers of people are setting up home or carrying out illegal logging within the conservation area, while the rubbish problem there is getting worse. 
He said the ministry has planted 200,000 trees in the national park, as part of efforts to protect the habitat.
The ministry has also withdrawn a tourism-agriculture land concession from Nokor Koktlork Company and is in the process of evicting military families who have set up home there.
“Phnom Kulen National Park needs more support from local and international conservation groups because it is a rich source of natural resources and a heritage site,” Mr Samal said.
Seng Soth, deputy director in the ministry’s community department, told the media that those living in the national park will be relocated, but will be allowed to come back and work in the tourist industry there. 
“People living there are polluting the place. We do not know how many families will be moved yet because the local authorities are just starting to identify them,” he said.
Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeung Sakuna, who is also a member of the Apsara Authority, said 50 areas require urgent conservation work in Phnom Kulen National Park and in Angkor Archeological Park.
“Some temples are decaying with age. They need expert conservation,” she said.
Khiev Thy, head of the Angkor Tour Guide Association in Siem Reap, said local and international tourists are very interested in Phnom Kulen National Park, because they want to see its natural beauty, temples and waterfalls.  
But he said some visitors had complained about rubbish in the park.
“Many tourists want to visit Kulen mountain, but sometimes they see huge piles of rubbish left by villagers and illegal logging,” he said.   

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