project news

Stunning discoveries in Cambodia

News item submitted by Frontier
News item dated 17 Mar 2009

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Working deep in the forests of Botum Sakor National Park the Frontier-Cambodia research team has recently documented two species of the highest conservation importance. Led by Research Officer Alex Royan the team has been astonished to see the critically endangered Siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) and the endangered white winged duck (Cairina scutulata)

Due to habitat loss and excessive hunting there are estimated to be fewer than 5000 Siamese crocodiles left in the wild and in the early 1990’s they were even considered extinct. The true number of surviving Siamese crocodiles is unknown due to limited data on their distribution so field documentations are highly important for the conservation of this unique species. Although crocodiles are often perceived as vicious and dangerous predators, Siamese crocodiles are much smaller and pose only a low threat to humans compared to their big brother; the saltwater crocodile. Unfortunately, this general mis-conception has encouraged persecution and caused a dramatic decline in numbers.

With less than 1000 estimated white winged ducks in the wild and possibly only 100 in Cambodia, Frontier’s research team was ecstatic to document this rare bird in Botum Sakor. The national park might be a vital stronghold for this endangered bird as deforestation and loss of wetlands continuously occurs outside of protected areas and threatens the species’ survival.

The Cambodia research team is constantly adding important conservation species to the catalogue of the national park. Other exciting species studied by the team include the endangered pileated gibbon and three different species of hornbills.

Read more about our Cambodia Project