project news

Rare species a commonplace thing in Cambodia

News item submitted by Ben Margerison
News item dated 10 Mar 2011

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There are many areas throughout the world that despite being a home to humans for thousands of years still remain relatively poorly studied to those in the fields of conservation, zoology and botany. Despite the world becoming ever well more connected as a result of globalisation, it still retains areas that until very recently remained an enigma to people from the Western hemisphere (discounting a select few of the Colonial era). Many of these areas contain areas of breathtaking natural beauty and biodiversity that can only be marvelled at. One such area would most certainly be Cambodia.

Cambodia has undergone a rather tumultuous recent history to say the least, but things are starting to look brighter and, like much of Southeast Asia, the country has become a popular destination with backpackers from all over the world. However, it is not just backpackers who are becoming more prevalent in Cambodia; researchers and conservation workers are also increasing efforts in the country as the wealth of wildlife indigenous to the country offers a new frontier in which to explore and help conserve.

The Frontier Cambodia team are currently based in Oddar Meanchey, in a protected forested area rich in all variety of reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects and many species of relatively unknown and extremely elusive mammals. The team has recently caught many such animals on film through the use of camera traps. Using this method, mouse deer, macaques, mongoose and Asian golden cats have all recently been recorded. Evidence of Sun Bears has also recently been found.

The team has also heard much in the way of apelike shenanigans lately, as the calls of elusive Pileated Gibbon, an endangered species found only in Cambodia and neighbouring Laos and Thailand, have recently been heard in the trees surrounding camp. Little is currently known on the population found in Cambodia and the same can be said for the focus of much recent research in the region by Frontier teams on hairy nosed otters and the fishing cat.

Humans have always had a desire to explore, whether it be in the research of new technology, our physical capabilities, or the natural world. With the increase in our knowledge of the surrounding world, sometimes it can feel like some of the mystery has been taken out of it. However, the world is a very big place and as long as there are regions such as Cambodia to explore there will always be new natural wonders to discover.

Find out more about the Cambodia project.