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Orchid conservation needs more attention, says official

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Experts to conserve 500 species of rare and endangered orchids. KT/Siv Channa

A senior official from the Environment Ministry yesterday called for more effort in supporting the Sok An Phnom Kulen Centre for Orchid Research and Conservation in Siem Reap province, where experts are currently looking to catalogue and conserve more than 500 species of rare and endangered orchids.

“To promote development and the conservation of natural resources as well as the operation of this orchid research centre, I would like to ask relevant institutions to further accelerate the development of this research centre and mobilise public participation to promote orchid conservation,” Mr Sophalleth said during a speech at the ministry headquarters in Phnom Penh yesterday during a signing ceremony for an agreement between the General Secretariat of National Council for Sustainable Development and the Paris National Museum of Natural History.

He said the centre was established in 2018 to promote the study, conservation and research of orchids.

Mr Sophalleth said the centre also aims to educate the public, ensure effective management of protected areas and improve the living conditions of local communities.

Experts are currently working to identify and conserve 160 species of orchids, according to a ministry report.

The report said it has been estimated that Cambodia has more than 500 orchid species.

Meng Monyrak, deputy secretary-general of NCSD, said orchids are under the threat of extinction and increased conservation work is needed, while laws must prohibit trading.

“According to researchers, orchids can take three to five years to flower – they are difficult to reproduce, especially in the forest,” Mr Monyrak said. “Orchids are threatened by loss of habitat, [mass] consumption and export. Orchid trade needs to be prohibited.”

Tour Sivandeth, an orchid farm owner in Kandal province’s Areykhsath area, yesterday agreed that orchid conservation is important.

“Our country is favourable for orchid-planting, but we seemingly ignore [planting and breeding],” Mr Sivandeth said. “Thailand has benefited more from orchids – they have earned a lot of money.”

“Because of this, I established my orchid farm and collected other plants to share with our citizens,” he added. “I want them to know that there are many species of orchids, not just the one sold in a market.”

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