Casinos, condos and sugar cane: How a Cambodian national park is being sold down the river

Casinos, condos and sugar cane: How a Cambodian national park is being sold down the river

Covering a vast peninsula that juts out into the Gulf of Thailand on Cambodia’s southern coast, Botum Sakor is one of the largest national parks in the country and known to be richly diverse in both fauna and flora. It’s home to more than 500 bird and at least 44 mammal species, including Sunda pangolins, dholes (Cuon alpinus, a wild canid), Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and pileated gibbons (Hylobates pileatus), all of which are classified as either Critically Endangered (Sunda pangolin) or Endangered in the IUCN Red List. Over the past two decades, however, Botum Sakor has acquired a darker reputation for having one of the highest rates of deforestation in Cambodia, with those who are prepared to go on the record describing it as a “paper park” that is being effectively destroyed. Sunda pangolins (Manis javanica) are critically endangered. Their primary threat is poaching (as a group, pangolins are considered the world’s most trafficked animals) but habitat loss is also a big concern for the species. Image by Frendi Apen Irawan via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0). The park itself covers an expanse of just over 170,000 hectares (420,00 acres), but large areas have already been deforested. Satellite data from the University of Maryland (UMD) visualized on the forest monitoring platform Global Forest Watch (GFW) show that it lost 24,500 hectares of humid primary rainforest between 2002 and 2020. In other words, 24% of the park’s old growth forest was cleared over the past 18 years. Total tree cover…This article was originally published on Mongabay

Read the full article on Mongabay

Tags:

Share This Post

Post Comment