The Environment Ministry will set up Cambodia’s first orchid research and conservation centre in Siem Reap province next month, a ministry spokesman said yesterday.
Neth Pheaktra said the centre will collect, protect and conserve wild orchid species found in the province’s jungles.
He noted that the Sok An Phnom Kulen Centre for Orchid Research and Conservation will be officially launched at the end of next month and its purpose is to collect and conserve wild orchid species threatened with extinction.
“Presently, some orchid species are facing extinction by people who traffic the flowers for sale to other countries, especially Thailand and Vietnam,” Mr Pheaktra said. “However, we do not have detailed information about the trafficking.”
He added that 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.
“Of these, only 360 species have so far been identified,” Mr Pheaktra noted. “We created the centre so that we can preserve our natural biodiversity for our next generation.”
He added that the orchid conservation centre will be set up on Kulen Mountain in the province’s Banteay Srey district and the ministry plans to set up other centres in other provinces.
“We have not decided where to set up the next centre yet and will study what types of species should be protected and conserved,” Mr Pheaktra said, noting that there are a lot of orchid species on Kulen Mountain.
He added that the ministry is looking to set up research and conservation centres at Kirirom Mountain in Kampong Speu province and in Pursat, Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri provinces.
The Sok An Phnom Kulen Centre for Orchid Research and Conservation will also play a role to educate students and the public to appreciate the importance of Cambodia’s orchid heritage.
Environment Minister Say Sam Al said the National Council for Sustainable Development cooperated with the Siem Reap provincial environment department to bring the centre to fruition.