A protected nature reserve was spared complete destruction when Cambodia’s prime minister stepped in after a public outcry. Replanting has begun to restore the forest – but with saplings that could be for a timber plantation.
On 1 August, 2022, excavators began tearing down parts of the Phnom Tamao Protected Forest, an area of 2,300 hectares barely 40 kilometres south of Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh. The heavy machinery rapidly uprooted scores of trees to prepare significant parts of this last green oasis close to the capital, for development.
The Phnom Tamao Protected Forest is home to some of the country’s most endangered wildlife including endangered sambar deer, wild pigs, and rare bird species.
Since 2001, the NGO Wildlife Alliance has been running a wildlife rescue centre with the Cambodian Forestry Administration located inside the forest. The 400-hectare centre rehabilitates animals taken from poachers and wildlife traders. The rescued animals, including tigers and elephants, are, if possible, re-released into the wild, often into Phnom Tamao Protected Forest. The wildlife centre, hugely popular with both locals and tourists, receives more than 300.000 visitors a year….
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