The USAID Supporting Forests and Biodiversity Project, implemented by Winrock International, with partners WWF-Cambodia, WCS and others, celebrated “Mondulkiri’s Wildlife and Us” in December. The event promoted the importance of the region’s landscapes and species and showed the commitment of local forest communities to protect their natural heritage. The celebration in Sen Monorom underlined the importance of the Eastern Plains Landscape’s (EPL) wildlife and biodiversity.
“Conserving Cambodia’s valuable forests and wildlife is a critical priority for the country and the region,” said Rebecca Black, USAID Cambodia’s mission director. “Helping educate Cambodians about these incredible natural resources is an important part of that conservation. We hope the ‘Mondulkiri’s Wildlife and Us’ celebration will raise awareness about the importance of conserving this unique ecosystem and ensuring the security of both habitat and wildlife.”
The event was attended by nearly 1,000 residents, local officials, school children and NGO representatives. Children with huge smiles from the local schools put on a wonderful play about the importance of wildlife, with songs and dancing and had the whole audience captivated with their messages. There were also performances from the Bunong Art Group, as well as two finalists from this year’s Cambodian Idol – which caused quite a frenzy amongst the teenage girls in the audience.
“I am so happy to attend this important event and I feel so surprised to see many animals still exist in my province, Mondulkiri. We have both amazing rare species and beautiful forest. So we must protect them for the next generation,” said Ms. Dim Chan Thea, a resident of Sen Monorom District.
The Eastern Plains Landscape is an area of great importance to wildlife and local communities, in Cambodia and globally. The region is home to 18 Endangered and Critically-Endangered species of mammals, reptiles and birds, including the world’s largest population of Banteng and Yellow-cheeked-crested Gibbon, as well as a significant meta-population of Endangered Asian elephants.
“We need everyone to show their support for wildlife protection and to report illegal activities. We truly believe that by uniting, we can better protect Mondulkiri’s unique biodiversity,” said Chhith Sam Ath, Country Director of WWF-Cambodia.