Cambodia, being a tropical country, has a wide variety of wildlife species in its habit. Unfortunately, like many other countries, with the changes in natural landscape many animals are in risk of extinction. That’s why the work of wildlife conservation centers is so important: not only to save the animals, but also to educate the public and raise awareness. Beside, who doesn’t want to meet some animals in a setting where you are sure they are well treated?
Have a look at the wildlife center in Phnom Tamao. While having fun you will help support a project saving hundreds of animals from exploitation!
A rescued elephant on her morning stroll with the caretaker.
They portrait it as a zoo, in order to attract a Khmer audience as well. However, the wildlife center is a large property with different zones for the various species, most of them recovering from being:
- pets, which is illegal in Cambodia to have wildlife animas at home, especially from endangered species
- trapped on illegal snares setup by hunters, often harming them to a great extent (for instance there is an elephant on site that lost his leg due to these traps)
- exploited in zoos or other businesses with terrible conditions (e.g. tourism-based businesses where they are beaten up to stay calm for the tourists)
- traded in the black market, often to harvest parts of their body for traditional medicines
- rescued from human-to-animal conflicts, for instance a wild animal living near a village and destroying the farms or eating livestock, therefore making the local population wanting to hunt it down in order to protect themselves
Lucky, a very happy female elephant enjoying some treats from visitors such as pineapple, corn or peanuts.
You can see and interact with different animals and learn more about them, curiosities about their lifestyle, their current situation in terms of risk of extinction, etc. Leopards, gibbons, bears, monkeys, tigers, otters… the list is huge! You can visit as a normal visitor or book a tour. The money will directly support the programs in order to treat the animals and, hopefully, release them in the wild. They will not release them f they can’t adapt to the wild conditions anymore, hunt by themselves, etc.
A caretaker cleaning a prosthetic leg for Chhouk, a male elephant that lost his leg to an illegal hunting snare.
They also have tours available in the province of Koh Kong. Here you can stay in their main release center (more info here), and visit their ecotourism project in the village of Chi Phat where you can sleep in a homestay. There are many activities such as trekking, mountain biking and boat tours, enjoy beautiful nature, rainforest and waterfalls, breath some fresh air and enrich your trip with an authentic experience! Check here for more info on this.
If you are heading north, they also have a wildlife release center near Angkor Wat, in Siem Reap. Have a look at their website for more info.
A cute gibbon looking for some human touch.
If you are in Phnom Penh, take a break from the city and visit their wildlife center in Phnom Tamao! It is just on the outskirts of the city, in Takeo province.