A recent expedition to Kampot sites reports the presence of rare species

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Some of the species discovered during the expedition to Kampot by a team of scientists. Photo provided

The Kampot Provincial Department of Environment and a team of researchers from the Ministry of Environment have discovered a remarkable degree of biodiversity – including the presence of some of the most vulnerable, threatened and endangered species – following of a recent scientific expedition to two protected sites: Luong Cave and Phnom Totong-Phnom Touch Natural Heritage Area.

The ministry said the biodiversity present includes 12 species of mammals, 18 species of reptiles and eight species of amphibians, three of which are critically endangered, two endangered and two others in the vulnerable group.

On January 22, the government issued separate sub-decrees establishing the two natural heritage sites in the eastern part of Kampot, with the aim of protecting their ecosystems, natural landscape beauty and other natural values.

The decrees designated 83.44 ha in Dang Tong and Banteay Meas districts as “Phnom Totong-Phnom Touch Natural Heritage Area” and 25 ha in Touk Meas Khang Lech commune of Banteay Meas district as “Phnom Preah Kuhear Luong” or “Luong Cave”.

The ministry said the research team also found many other species that are scientifically identified, but some may be newly discovered species. They also collected samples for preservation and study.

He noted that the sites are also home to tens of thousands of insect-eating bats, which could produce bat guano that farmers could use as natural fertilizer, with an estimated cost for the project set at 100,000. dollars a year to operate.

Ministry spokesperson Neth Pheaktra told the Post that the discovery of rare and even new species is to be expected during scientific expeditions due to the incredible amount of biodiversity present in the Kingdom.

“It is not uncommon for Cambodia to serially find rare species, as it is widely recognized as a country rich in biodiversity with over 5,000 species already recorded,” he said.

“We need to study all these species of plants and animals further to clearly identify for the next generation which species are extinct and which are still living so that they can accurately judge the health of Cambodia’s biodiversity and continue to protect and preserve it for the next generation,” he added.

According to Pheaktra, Cambodia’s Biodiversity Index has a score of 7.5, but the true score may actually be higher depending on the research one relies on and what could turn out to be a big number of undocumented species.

He said Cambodia is known to have 123 species of mammals, 545 species of birds, 88 species of reptiles, 2,308 species of vascular plants, 874 species of fish, 24 species of hard corals, 14 species of soft corals, 10 species of seagrass and 63 species of amphibians.

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