Prime Minister revokes all agreements with Tamao
Prime Minister Hun Sen has revoked all Tamao Sanctuary development agreements to preserve the forest adjacent to the Phnom Tamao Zoological Park and Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC).
“Our beloved people! There are so many calls for the government to preserve the forest around Phnom Tamao Zoo.
“As the most responsible person in the Royal Government, I would like to issue an order:
“One: Revoke all trading and development permissions.
“Second: Register the land and forest around Phnom Tamao Zoo as land to be protected and conserved by the Ministry of Agriculture.
“Three: The company that cleared the land should stop its operations and replant trees on the cleared land,” Hun Sen said yesterday.
Developer Leng Navatra of Leng Navatra Group, which is said to have cleared the land for the development of a gated community and resort, said he would comply with Mr. Hun Sen’s order and step down.
Suwanna Gauntlett, founder of Wildlife Alliance who led the PTWRC with the Forestry Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, was delighted to hear the news.
“Today is a day of great joy as Mr. Hun Sen has once again made a great decision to protect Cambodia’s forests.”
“Many thanks Mr. Hun Sen. I’m so glad the wildlife populations there are keeping their homes. Thank you for being part of this journey and using your voice to save Phnom Tamao’s forest and wildlife,” said Gauntlett.
Nick Marx, Director of Wildlife Rescue and Care for the Wildlife Alliance, said: “I really appreciate Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to arrest the developer and I also appreciate the Leng Navatra Group for comply with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order.
Marx was also grateful that Mr. Hun Sen told the developer to replant the trees.
According to the civil society group Mother Nature Cambodia, around 300 hectares of forest land in the Tamao sanctuary was cleared within a week.
Last week, the cleanup of the Tamao Sanctuary for Development sparked people’s anger, made headlines and went viral on social media.
PTWRC, Cambodia’s largest zoo, is about 40 km south of Phnom Penh and was established in 1995 with an area of over 6,000 acres of protected forest.
Since 2001, PTWRC has been managed by the Forestry Administration in partnership with Wildlife Alliance.
Wildlife Alliance livestock specialists, veterinarians and custodians assist in the feeding and care of animals and operations.
The PTWRC is currently home to over 1,200 rescued animals of 102 species, including endangered Asian elephants, tigers, pileated gibbons, Siamese crocodiles and sun bears, among many others. Many species are listed as endangered or vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The forest administration, in a recent statement, said the area to be developed was full of sand and the trees were not growing well.
The administration also added that the area has no significant native wildlife which is endangered and rare and the area only has wild pigs which often come to disturb people’s crops.
“The fauna kept in Phnom Tamao Zoological Park is 100% safe and this development does not affect it in any way,” the statement said.
It is for these reasons, the statement said, that the government decided to use this area for development as it is an area close to the city, close to the new airport and close to the tourist area of Tonle Bati.
The Forestry Administration added that the development of this area was not a sale but was in exchange for further development of Phnom Tamao Zoo and Wildlife Rescue Center by upgrading Phnom Tamao Zoo with improvements. to include roads, buildings, parks, spas, reservoirs, as well as the establishment of the National Museum in Phnom Penh, the establishment of a safari park in Siem Reap, the establishment of a botanical garden in Mondulkiri and the construction of government buildings and facilities.