Saving Cambodia's Dry Forests
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.