Thanks to support from Rainforest Trust donors, a 223,287-acre national park in Cambodia has been permanently established. Prey Preah Roka National Park represents the last intact representation of an ecosystem that once dominated most of Indochina.
Located in Cambodia’s Northern Plains, the new Prey Preah Roka National Park contains a mosaic of forest, wetlands and grasslands that provide important habitat for endangered species like Asian Elephants, Fishing Cats and the Indochinese Silvered Leaf Monkey. It is also home to some of the planet’s most endangered large water birds, including the Giant Ibis.
On May 9th, 2016, the Royal Government of Cambodia issued a sub-decree declaring the creation of the new national park. Nearly 10 times the size of Paris, Prey Preah Roka National Park is one of five new protected areas in Cambodia signed into law by Prime Minister Hun Sen this month. One of the other areas declared thanks to Rainforest Trust supporters was Southern Cardamom National Park, a 1,014,100-acre protected area conserving one of Southeast Asia’s last great rainforests and one of the last un-fragmented Asian Elephant corridors on the planet.
The Prey Preah Roka National Park now connects two previously established protected areas, providing an enormous, contiguous wildlife corridor totaling 1,698,012 acres.
With support from Rainforest Trust, local partner Wildlife Conservation Society-Cambodia worked with Cambodia’s government to formally establish the new park. Its protection comes after years of logging, hunting and agricultural expansion in the region that threatened to destroy the Northern Plain’s unique plant and animal communities.
Located in the heart of the Indo-Burmese Peninsula, Prey Preah Roka National Park lies within a globally recognized biodiversity hotspot boasting 28 IUCN threatened species. Based on confirmed records in the adjacent protected areas and habitats in the wildlife sanctuary, an additional 19 threatened species are considered likely to be present within this enormous protected area complex.
Prey Preah Roka National Park is now a permanent refuge for endangered wildlife including Asian Elephants, whose populations have declined 50 percent over the last three generations. The habitat protection afforded by this declaration will provide strong support for the critical remaining population.
Other threatened species found in the national park include Pileated Gibbons, Eld’s Deer, Dholes and two Critically Endangered tree species. Additionally, Prey Preah Roka contains no less than five Critically Endangered bird species.
In the past absence of legal protected status, this area was long threatened by private interests with massive forest destruction by large-scale industrial plantations, mining and livestock grazing. These threats have been averted thanks to Rainforest Trust and its committed supporters.
Following this long-awaited declaration, protection of this unique biodiversity will be undertaken by Cambodia’s Ministry of the Environment whose management plan includes three new patrol sub-stations staffed by teams consisting of rangers and military police to ensure proactive, on-the-ground protection.
“The designation of Prey Preah Roka National Park is an enormous step forward for wildlife and habitat protection in Cambodia,” said Rick Passaro, Rainforest Trust’s Asia Conservation Officer. “The historic events of these past few weeks in Cambodia should be hailed as conservation victories for the entire Southeast Asian region.”
The Prey Preah Roka National Park was declared thanks to our local partner, WCS-Cambodia, and the generous support of Luanne Lemmer, Eric Veach, an anonymous contributor and many other friends of Rainforest Trust.
Header photo: Sarus Cranes flock to Prey Preah Roka’s wetlands and open areas. Photo by Martin Hale.