Cambodia’s Wildlife Under Threat

15 May 2015 | World Wildlife Fund News Release

Some of the world’s most endangered species will be driven closer to extinction if a new border crossing with Vietnam and associated road are built through Cambodia’s pristine Mondulkiri Protected Forest – one of the most biologically diverse areas in Southeast Asia.


Therefore to mark Endangered Species Day, today WWF is counting down ten of Mondulkiri Protected Forest’s most endangered species while calling for the border crossing to be cancelled to protect them.

A staggering 23 species of mammal, bird, reptile and tree are listed as endangered or critically endangered in the 4,300 square kilometre Mondulkiri Protected Forest. Many of these species have declined to extinction elsewhere in their ranges across Southeast Asia as a result of habitat loss and targeted hunting for illegal wildlife products. The new border crossing and road will seriously fragment their habitat while providing little economic benefit.

Sam Ath Chhith, Country Director at WWF-Cambodia said: “Mondulkiri Protected Forest is a treasure trove of biodiversity and has been identified by the Cambodian Government as the site of a planned tiger reintroduction. Unfortunately both the spectacular biodiversity and the tiger reintroduction are in jeopardy if this border crossing and road are built through the core zone of the protected forest.”

John Barker, Head of India and China Programmes at WWF-UK said: “This ill-conceived road development will exert a huge negative impact, not only on the whole range of biodiversity but the ecological services the forest provides the region. It highlights the need for spatial planning processes that enable decision making to be made based on consideration of the full range of social, environmental and economic costs of infrastructure development.”

WWF’s top ten most endangered species in the Mondulkiri Protected Forest:

Banteng: One of the most endangered species in the Eastern Plains landscape. In the past 50 years the species of wild cattle has declined by more than 80%. Over 5,000 banteng are estimated to live in the Mondulkiri Protected Forest, meaning this landscape is critical to their survival.

Giant Ibis: Ranked by the Zoological Society of London as the most evolutionary distinct threatened bird species and Cambodia’s national bird, with less than 500 remaining. Critically endangered due to loss of wetlands and deforestation.

Siamese crocodile: The “friendly crocodile” due to no recorded instances of it attacking people. Critically endangered due to hunting for its skin.

Slender-billed vulture: Asia’s rarest vulture. Critically endangered due to ingestion of a commonly used veterinary drug given to cattle.

Eld’s Deer: Restricted to a few small populations. Highly prized by hunters. Endangered

Dipterocarpus alatus: Tropical hardwood cut down for furniture. Provides livelihoods to local communities through sustainable collection of resin. Endangered

Silvered langur: Endemic to the region, they eat poisonous fruit that makes their flesh toxic. Endangered due to logging, hunting the pet trade.

Masked finfoot: Elusive waterbird that is rarely seen and poorly understood. Endangered due to habitat loss and human disturbance.

Elongated tortoise: Heavily traded on the Black Market and in serious decline. Endangered

Tiger: With no breeding populations in Cambodia, WWF is supporting the Cambodian Government’s efforts to re-introduce tigers into Mondulkiri Protected Forest. Endangered due to habitat loss, poaching and loss of prey base.


Editor’s Note:

For high res photos of some of the species, please view our photo gallery.

For More Information, Please contact:

Emma Roberts, Media Relations Officer, WWF-UK
M: 07771 818 682 E:

About WWF
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

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