caring about cambodia

slow lorisThe Intrepid Foundation’s volunteer administrator, Anna Wade, recently travelled to Cambodia with her husband, two twelve-year-olds and her adventurous septuagenarian parents and one of the highlights for them all was visiting The Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB)…

“ACCB was established in 2003 to help conserve the local wildlife and to educate people on the need to protect their indigenous animals. Located 30 km (18 miles) north of Siem Reap, ACCB endeavours to rehabilitate some animals to return to the wild and care for those who couldn’t survive without their help.

There is no doubt that ACCB’s work is vital to the continuing existence of Cambodia’s rare wildlife. In a land torn apart so recently by the very worst of human tragedies, it is heartening to find people who are able to focus on a natural disaster that is happening little-by-little every day. The people of ACCB are doing all they can to help preserve Cambodia’s rare species and protect their habitats and I for one am grateful for their efforts.

The centre is well maintained and we had the chance to see many of their current inhabitants. The cheerful and knowledgeable Rak showed us his charges. First we were introduced to handsome pileated gibbons. The females and young are pale, while the adult males are black. The ones we met were retrieved from people who had kept them as pets. Although now healthy and happy, they cannot breed because they don’t know how to raise their own young.

The silvered langur is an attractive, cheeky-looking monkey. These highly social creatures reach out to touch you. The ones here had also been pets but fed completely unsuitable food. Fortunately they recover quickly when returned to their diet of simple leaves and rainforest fruit. Ideally they will be returned to the wild, but their habitat continues to be destroyed by illegal logging and non-sustainable agriculture.

Other unusual animals you might see here include porcupines, pangolins, leopard cats, green peahens and greater and lesser adjutant storks.

ACCB houses several animals that were rescued from the Angkor Zoo, which was closed due to poor upkeep and animal trading. Sadly the dealing in endangered animals is commonplace in Cambodia, but their attempts at education seem to be working. Rak told us a story of a local woman who was offered a slow loris. She had no money but she traded some fabric she had woven so she could bring the loris to the Centre.

Intrepid trips often visit ACCB while in Cambodia and travellers continue to show their support by donating both on the ground or when they return home. The Intrepid Foundation website gives you the opportunity to find out more and donate on-line. Since Intrepid Travel matches all on-line donations dollar for dollar this is a great way to contribute to saving these endangered animals.”

The Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity has recently joined The Intrepid Foundation’s Community Project Fund and travelling with Intrepid you will be able to see their work firsthand while you discover the rich history and culture of Cambodia.

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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Thanks so much for this story. I hadn’t heard of this place, but as an animal nut, I am eager to visit next month when we go to Siem Reap. A fabulous tip!

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