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Government to nominate national parks for heritage list

Sun Mesa / Khmer Times Share:
Preak Toal
Birds roosting in the Preak Toal area. coutrtesy of WCS

The government will nominate a national park and a bird sanctuary into the Asean Heritage list next year as they are abundant with biodiversity and wildlife, according to environment ministry officials.

Srun Darith, a secretary of state at the Environment Ministry, said the ministry is working on the paperwork needed.

A ministry official working on a proposal and who requested not to be named said the ministry plans to nominate two protected areas: the Southern Cardamom Mountain in Pursat, Koh Kong, Kampong Speu and Preah Sihanouk provinces and the Prek Toal bird sanctuary in Battambang province.

“We plan to nominate Southern Cardamom Mountain and Prek Toal bird sanctuary,” the official said. “We will ask for approval from the Minister before submitting them to the Asean committee.”

“It will take at least one year to process,” the ministry official said. “We are optimistic that our two parks [will be listed].”

According to Rainforest Trust and Wildlife Alliance, the Southern Cardamoms are a globally recognised biodiversity hotspot, boasting 28 endangered wildlife species and over 2,000 plant species.

It said that though the area hosts a fantastic wealth of flora and fauna, much of its wildlife is endangered and 27 species found in the Cardamom Range are imperilled with extinction, including Asian Elephants and Pileated Gibbons.

According to the Asean tourism website, Prek Toal bird sanctuary is a vital nesting ground with 300 species of fish, and more than a hundred varieties of water birds, including pelicans, storks, and herons.

The website said that the sanctuary plays host to the largest number of threatened waterbirds in the region during the dry season from December to May.

During the Asean Ministerial meeting on the environment held in Siem Reap province in August, Asean ministers approved the nominations of five protected areas as Asean Heritage Parks: Hat Chao Mai National Park and Mu Ko Libong Non-hunting Area and Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park in Thailand, Lo Go-Xa Mat National Park and Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve in Vietnam and Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary in Myanmar.

Currently, Cambodia has two national parks listed, including the Virakchey and Bokor national parks.

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