Friday, December 23, 2011

Thumbs up for the Doucs

Doucs galore in Mondulkiri
There's good news for wildlife lovers in Cambodia. Two projects are just about to be launched in the north east provinces of Cambodia which will provide visitors with a good chance of getting close to some of the country's rapidly disappearing wild animals. With the forests of Cambodia vanishing faster than you can shake a stick, as plantations and commercial mining demand more and more space, its great news that there are still pockets of wildlife in numbers sufficient to entice conservation groups to set up these programs. In the Seima Protected Forest in Mondulkiri, WCS and Sam Veasna are working with the villagers of Andong Kraleong to set up one, two and three-day treks that will take you amongst the world's largest known population of Black-shanked Doucs (estimated to be around 40,000), while other monkeys such as macaques, yellow-cheeked crested gibbons and langurs, together with larger cattle like Banteng and Gaur, and night-viewing of loris and wild cats are also a possibility. And that's not to mention the elephants and the abundant birdlife including giant hornbills. The project, using villagers as guides, aims to provide the local community with sustainable employment in tourism in return for not hunting the wildlife and for forest conservation. The treks around Andong Kraleong will take visitors through pristine forest and to a series of 20-meter high waterfalls. A second project, this time with Conservation International to the fore, is looking to benefit from the groups of yellow-cheeked gibbons and red-shanked Doucs that inhabit the fringes of the Virachey National Park in Ratanakiri near Voen Sai. They are working with locals to allow limited access to these closely-related cousins of the proboscis monkey a reality. Other animals such as macaques, sun bears and wild dogs are known to inhabit the same area.

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