One of the world’s most wetland-dependent countries, Cambodia is a land of stunning contrasts.
Cambodian life is all about water. During the wet season the size of Cambodia’s central lake, Tonle Sap, swells tenfold to 10,000 square miles – twice the size of Northern Ireland. 80% of the population work on seasonally inundated land. They live on the rice and fish it provides and build their homes on stilts and floats. A wonderful mix of wildlife depends on the wetlands too including wild oxen, elephants and sarus cranes.
But large areas of wetland are being destroyed to support Cambodia’s fast-growing economy. In just 15 years, half its wetlands have disappeared. A third of the population don’t have access to clean water. This effects wildlife as well as people. The number of sarus cranes in Cambodia has dropped to less than 1,000 individuals.
We’re working with local communities to restore two areas of the remaining Lower Mekong wetlands. We’ve created two community fisheries and provided resources and support to empower 1,500 members to manage their fish stocks more sustainably. We’re helping 200 farmers to grow crops that use less water and don’t need harmful pesticides, yet deliver better yields. Healthier wetlands will help the sarus crane to survive in Cambodia. People love seeing these beautiful animals so we’re helping to set up sustainable wildlife tourism to benefit local people directly.