Students in Kampong Thom and Siem Reap provinces last week learned that protecting wildlife can be beneficial to both local communities and the environment at a workshop hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Nheb Nguen, a WCS representative, said the students were brought from their respective provinces to the workshop to highlight the importance of protecting the Bengal Florican and other water birds.
More than 200 students participated in the workshop that mainly focused on wildlife awareness for the Northern Tonle Sap Protected Landscape.
“It has been the role of school children to find nests and guard over these animals throughout the years,” said Mr Nguen.
“Awareness of these issues benefit local communities by earning money through ecotourism projects,” he added. “At the same time, conservation could reduce the threat to wildlife from poachers.”
The Bengal Florican is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
According to IUCN data, the current population of the Bengal Florican is decreasing, with a global population of fewer than 800.
Cambodia plays a critical role in conserving the habitat of these birds. In Cambodia, there are approximately 432 Bengal Floricans in the country, and their numbers are dwindling.
The Northern Tonle Sap Protected Landscape was established in 2016. The protected status of the land allows for 31,156 hectares to cross Kampong Thom and Siem Reap provinces.
WCS works closely with the Environment Ministry to conserve wildlife on the protected lands by assisting law enforcement, protecting bird nests and raising awareness.
Villagers are hired to protect bird nests.