WCS Supports Cessation of Sand Dredging in Sre Ambel River System

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a natural conservation INGO, expressed its supports to the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME)'s decision of July 10, 2017 to stop all types of sand dredging activities in Sre Ambel River system in Koh Kong province and ban all exports abroad.

This decision reflects a strong commitment and efforts from MME in avoiding the negative impacts from sand dredging activities on the environment, fisheries, local communities as well as the protection of biodiversity, including Royal Turtles, said the WCS in a press release made public today.

Sre Ambel River system is a very important conservation site because it is the only place in Cambodia where Royal Turtles, the Cambodia's national reptile, can be found, it pointed out.

As an international conservation NGO committed to assisting Government of Cambodia to protect its natural heritage, WCS would like to express its strong support for the MME's recent decision to stop all types of sand dredging activities along the Sre Ambel River system where WCS in collaboration with Fisheries Administration has been working to conserve the Critically Endangered Royal Turtle and Siamese Crocodile, said Dr. Ross Sinclair, WCS Cambodia Country Director.

This decision is welcome news for natural resource conservation in Sre Ambel district of Koh Kong province because sand dredging can destroy natural habitat, deplete fish stocks for local communities, and damage ecosystem, he underlined.

The Royal Turtle was believed extinct in Cambodia until 2000 when a small population was re-discovered by Fisheries Administration and WCS in the Sre Ambel River System. Recently, the conservation group also found a nest of Critically Endangered Siamese Crocodile in this river system.

WCS is proud of taking part in conducting impact assessment and giving advice to the technical working group of MME. WCS is pleased to continue working with MME to provide scientific evidence and support for any future policy making to ensure that there is no adverse impact to the environment and local communities, Dr. Sinclair added.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press