Phnom Penh – Dec. 19, 2019 -- WCS Cambodia has celebrated its 20th Anniversary, highlighting wildlife conservation advances. 

Hosted at the Cambodiana Hotel on December 6, 2019, this special event commemorated WCS Cambodia’s 20-year history of supporting wildlife conservation by looking back on its legacy while commemorating the collaborations that have contributed to the programs key achievements since 1999. 

Some of those key achievements: 

The initiation of the Bird Nest Protection Program in the Northern Plains. Since 2004, hundreds of local people have protected more than 4,000 threatened birds nests. The scheme continues to the present day: in 2018, 55 giant ibis fledged from 32 protected nests. 

In 2006, the monitoring of large mammal population in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary began. The Population data derived from line transects revealed that the population of black-shanked douc at Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary is stable and that the sanctuary supports 80% of the global population of this species.   

In 2018, IBIS Rice (a wildlife-friendly certified conservation enterprise launched by WCS) received the award for Best New Product at the World Sustainable Food Awards in the Netherlands. Ibis Rice buys certified organic premium jasmine from wildlife-friendly farmers in Northern Cambodia. 

The initiative rewards communities who adhere to conservation rules, including no hunting, no forest clearance and no use of chemicals, with a price premium that is 50% higher than the market price. As well as being available in Cambodia, it now exports to Europe, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong.  

The 20th anniversary celebration brought together the WCS team from 11 provinces and was attended by honored guests:   

HE Nao Thouk, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

HE Net Phaktra, Secretary of State of MoE,

Representative of H.E Say Sam Al, Minister of the Ministry of Environment

Robb Menzi, WCS Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Eleanor Briggs, WCS Trustee Emeritus

Tina Redshaw, British Ambassador to Cambodia

Ophélie Bourhis, AFD Country Director

Laura Cizmo, Deputy Director, Food Security and Environment Office at USAID Cambodia 

The event showcased a timeline installation highlighting key milestones from the program's 20-year journey as well as exhibitions from WCS’ conservation projects including the Sam Veasna Center and Ibis Rice. 

To open the anniversary, guests were greeted with a Well Wishing dance performance from the Royal University of Fine Arts, followed by a welcoming speech by Colin Poole, WCS Regional Director, Greater Mekong, and remarks by HE Nao Thouk and HE Net Phaktra. 

The event recognized the outstanding commitment to conservation from its team through presentations of certificates and awards of appreciation. 

WCS Cambodia wishes to thank its honored guests and partners for joining us for this very special occasion and for supporting us in our journey in protecting wildlife and wild places.