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World Wide Fund For Nature (formerly World Wildlife Fund)

WWF’s mission in Cambodia is to ensure that there will be strong participation and support from all people to conserve the country’s rich biological diversity. Through the encouragement of sustainable use of natural resources, WWF-Cambodia promotes new opportunities for the benefit of all people, enhancing local livelihoods and contributing to poverty reduction in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

WWF was established in Cambodia in 1998. As a part of the WWF Greater Mekong Programme, WWF-Cambodia is one of 5 Country Offices coordinating conservation efforts across Indochina, including Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Myanmar.


WWF-Cambodia delivers the latest on our work in the field through news, photos, video, stories and interviews to a range of audiences. The aim is to inform, educate and inspire through our conservation work carried out in collaboration with relevant agencies of the Royal Government of Cambodia, while promoting environmental news across all audiences.

On the Ground — WWF-Cambodia’s Conservation Efforts

Cambodia is regionally and internationally important for the conservation of terrestrial and aquatic habitats and threatened species of wildlife. Tiger, Asian elephant, wild cattle, large waterbirds, and other rare species of plants and animals are part of Cambodia’s natural heritage.

Healthy habitats and populations of wildlife are economically important to Cambodia in many ways. Communities rely on plants and animals from the forest to meet subsistence and cash needs. Forests protect the health of inland waters that are important spawning or feeding areas for the fish that most Cambodians rely on for protein.

In Cambodia, human population density is low, and there are relatively large natural areas that are still intact. However, some species are being harvested at unsustainable levels and might soon become extinct in Cambodia. At the same time, important natural habitats are being lost at an increasing rate. To meet these threats, the WWF Cambodia Programme is working with the government, other non-government organizations (NGOs), local communities, and the private sector on conservation and sustainable development programmes.

Cambodia’s Outstanding Dry Forest Landscape in the Eastern Plains

The Eastern Plains Landscape (EPL) covers an area over 30,000 square kilometers in 4 provinces (Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri, Kratie and Stung Treng) and forms the largest intact block of forest in southeast Asia. Northeastern Cambodia’s Mondulkiri Province, at the core of the EPL, is recognized as one of the 200 most important areas for global biodiversity by WWF.

Mondulkiri’s two protected areas, Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS: 363,177ha) and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary (PPWS: 222,500ha) contain a large diversity of habitats ranging from hill evergreen to open dry forest, and supports resident populations of many endangered species including Asian elephant, tiger, leopard, banteng, Siamese crocodile, and Eld’s deer as well as several endangered large waterbirds and vultures.

The Eastern Plains Landscape Project
To counter serious threats to the landscape and to conserve the EPL’s globally significant biodiversity, WWF-Cambodia has set up the Eastern Plains Landscape Project in cooperation with Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Forestry Administration and Ministry of Environment, General Department of Administration for Nature Conservation and Protection. The EPL project works to conserve biodiversity in Mondulkiri province focusing on the two protected areas but is also active through the entire province promoting sustainable resource use, land use planning and reducing wildlife crimes.

The project’s vision is to keep the last wilderness of Cambodia intact and connected, helping people protect their wildlife while sustaining livelihoods.

The EPL’s rich biodiversity is under threat due to uncontrolled logging, hunting for trade, land clearance for agriculture and settlements, and other unsustainable use of natural resources. Economic development including mining and hydropower form additional serious threats to forest and wildlife. Species like the Kouprey, Cambodia’s national animal, have probably already gone extinct, and tiger, Asian elephant, wild water buffalo and Eld’s deer are threatened with extinction in the next few years unless immediate action is taken.

Project Activities
In order to achieve its conservation vision as well as to support community livelihoods living in and around protected areas, the EPL project has implemented the following key activities:

  1. Improving community-based natural resource management, education and awareness.
  2. Ecotourism development for conservation livelihoods.
  3. Research Mondulkiri’s rich biodiversity for effective management.
  4. Reduce threats to wildlife and forest habitat.

Rich Biological Diversity of Cambodia’s Mekong Wetlands

Cambodia is home to iconic freshwater habitats – the Mekong River and its floodplains; the Tonle Sap Lake with its unique seasonal flood pulse. Together with the country’s many other large and small rivers and wetlands, these freshwater resources make Cambodia regionally and internationally important for the conservation of aquatic habitats and the wildlife they contain.

Freshwater resources are central to the well-being of Cambodia’s people and wildlife: They provide fish for food, water for transport, irrigation for rice fields, natural flood control, and a home to endangered wildlife such as the Irrawaddy dolphin or the Mekong giant catfish. Unfortunately, these vulnerable wetland resources are under increasing threat from human-induced changes.

WWF-Cambodia’s Freshwater Programme works along the Mekong River to conserve key freshwater habitats, aquatic species, and ecological functions identified within the Mekong River Ecoregion in Cambodia.

It promotes the creation of Community Fisheries groups and conducts research to collect information on Mekong basin biodiversity and future conservation management. The Freshwater Programme also coordinates and manages WWF-Cambodia’s efforts as a regional partner of the Wetlands Alliance and of the Cambodian Mekong Dolphin Conservation Project.

Since the work of WWF in Cambodia is so variable, most of it takes the form of specific projects that focus on a specific area. Examples include action plans that target specific species or regions as well as development plans that address specific sectors or problems. The outputs of our work here at WWF-Cambodia is recorded by regular reports and studies. Making these detailed documents publicly accessible can help to raise awareness of how and why WWF-Cambodia promotes ways to conserve Cambodian biodiversity together with the Cambodian people.



Deep in the pulsing Mekong River and the intact Dry Forests of Cambodia remain diverse and threatened species. WWF-Cambodia works where wild cattle, vultures, Asiatic dogs, and Mekong dolphins continue to live in their natural habitat.


Just 50 years ago, large herbivores like Banteng, Asian Elephant, and Eld’s Deer as well as predators like Indochinese tiger and leopard were so abundant in the Dry Forests of North and Northeast Cambodia that scientists compared this ecoregion to the savannas of East Africa. In the troubled decades that followed, however, habitat destruction and hunting greatly reduced animal numbers and diversity. Today, the largest intact dry forests in Indochina remain in north-eastern Cambodia in an area known as the Eastern Plains Landscape (EPL).

WWF-Cambodia works in two key protected areas in this landscape, Mondulkiri Protected Forest and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary. Even in these areas, animal numbers are critically low, especially of large herbivores and their predators. With its largely intact dry forest habitat, the area forms part of the tiger landscape with the highest potential for recovery in Asia. With increased protection effort, there are already many signs of improvement, particularly of leopard, and prey species such as banteng, deer, and wild pig. This leaves hope that, at some point in the future, wildlife in the EPL can be restored to its former glory.


The Mekong River is one of the few remaining free-flowing rivers in Asia. On its 4200 km long way through six countries – from China at its source, to Vietnam where it enters the sea – sixty million people depend on the river for their livelihoods. Its colossal high flows create large wetlands during the rainy season that enable irrigation for vital rice production and other agriculture, as well as a high levels of fish production. These wetlands also contribute to the high biodiversity found on the Mekong in terms of fish, birds, mollusks, crustaceans, and reptiles. In fact, in terms of fish biodiversity the Mekong is second only to the mighty Amazon.

In addition, many of globally significant terrestrial fauna species of this hotspot, including the Hog Deer rediscovered by WWF-Cambodia in 2006, rely on riverine habitates such as river banks, island vegetation and midstream sandbars, which are also under increasing threat from human-induced changes. In the recent years, the river and its tributaries have become a global hotspot for hydropower development with pridicted disasterious environmental impacts, including declining water quality and fish stocks, incision of riverbeds, bank erosion and global collapsing of freshwater biodiversity, including potential extinction of endangered and irreplaceable Mekong River species. In addition, many of globally significant terrestrial fauna species of this hotspot, including the Hog Deer rediscovered by WWF-Cambodia in 2006, rely on riverine habitates such as river banks, island vegetation and midstream sandbars, which are also under increasing threat from human-induced changes.

Threatened species in the Mekong River Ecoregion include mammals such as the iconic Irrawaddy dolphin and gigantic fish like Mekong giant catfish, giant carp, and giant freshwater stingray, all of which can exceed 200 kg in weight.
Many of the globally significant terrestrial fauna species of the ecoregion rely on riverine habitats such as river banks, island vegetation and midstream sandbars. Unfortunately, these vulnerable wetland resources are under increasing threat from human-induced changes to the Mekong River and its tributaries.

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