The French National Museum of Natural History’s Paris branch has offered to aid wild orchid conservation and send specimens to the Sok An Phnom Kulen Centre for Orchid Research and Conservation in Siem Reap province.
The offer was made during a meeting between Environment Ministry officials and three officials from the museum at the ministry on Friday.
A ministry Facebook post on Saturday said that the meeting between Chan Somaly, deputy secretary-general of the Council for Sustainable Development, and the French officials also focused on cooperation and technical aid to set up a National Museum of Natural History in Phnom Penh.
“The National Museum of Natural History in Paris agreed to provide technical assistance in taxonomy, identification of plants and wild orchids, training of specialists in the field, growing the orchids and collecting samples of plants and wild orchids,” the ministry post noted.
“Officials from the Paris museum also promised to share information and a list of wild orchids that their museum has studied and collected previously in Cambodia,” it added.
The Environment Ministry set up Cambodia’s first orchid research and conservation centre in Siem Reap province in September.
Cambodia can be regarded as a country rich in natural resources and biodiversity, and has more than 500 types of orchid species, some of which are rare, and only 360 species have so far been identified.
Neth Pheaktra, a ministry spokesman, yesterday said that he welcomed all forms of support and that the offer from the French museum will help the ministry to strengthen its ability to research into orchids and other forms of biodiversity.
“The creation of Sok An Phnom Kulen Orchid Research and Conservation Centre has been welcomed by the international community and besides the support from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, we expect to have more support from other countries to make our orchid centre play an important role in conserving orchids more effectively,” Mr Pheaktra said.
Environment Minister Say Samal during a visit to the centre in October called for more efforts to study and preserve orchids in protected areas which can become tourist attractions.
In a recent report the ministry said that Thailand has recorded more than 1,500 species of wild orchids, while Vietnam has more than 700 and Laos more than 500. It noted that the rare plant is threatened by forest clearing and illegal wild orchid traders.