The Environment Ministry on Sunday handed a $20,000 cheque to an American activist in Preah Vihear province for his conservation efforts.
The ministry said Ben Davis, the conservationist, has spent 20 years preserving and protecting forests and wild animals in the province, noting that a total of $100,000 will be provided by the end of 2023 to support his work.
Khieu Borin, director-general of the ministry’s local community department, said on Sunday during a concert to raise money for conservation that Mr Davis is aiming to strengthen the protection of Phnom Tnout and Phnom Pork wildlife sanctuaries.
He noted that the money will help his efforts over the next five years.
“The Environment Ministry has decided to help and support Mr Davis’ activities by providing a total of $100,000 for the next five years,” Mr Borin said. “For this year, he received $20,000.”
He added that some high-ranking officers at the ministry have also donated about $2,500 to Mr Davis.
“I’ve known Mr Davis since 2016 and he often thinks about the community before he thinks about himself,” Mr Borin said. “He told me that he will use the budget to build a road for the community, help people with their living and reduce the amount of hunting and logging.”
After the first cheque was given, Mr Davis thanked Environment Minister Say Samal for supporting his initiatives.
“I will thank him the next time I meet Mr Samal,” he said, noting that he builds the road and helps conduct patrols in the forests.
Mr Davis and his wife Sharyn Davis have been in Cambodia since the 1990s. With the support of villagers, they established a Community Forest in Rovieng district which eventually became part of the Phnom Tnout Wildlife Sanctuary.
The CF was approved in July 2017 and has an MoU with the Ministry of Environment to do ecotourism until 2022. It also has a mixed team of community members and Environment Ministry rangers who patrol the forest to curb crimes.
Neth Pheaktra, spokesman for the ministry, yesterday said that Prime Minister Hun Sen told ministry officials to protect natural resources and collaborate with conservationists in order to protect resources.
“We all have a common goal, which is the protection and conservation of natural resources for Cambodia’s next generation,” Mr Pheatra said. “The government is calling on everyone to participate in protecting our natural resources.”