The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) released a report today showing a ten-year population trend for 13 key wildlife species found in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary (KSWS), Cambodia’s most biodiverse protected area.

Using scientifically robust data collected using a standardized methodology, the report shows that the populations of green peafowl and pig-tailed macaque are increasing; populations of black-shanked douc langur, yellow-cheeked crested gibbon, long-tailed macaque, and wild pig are stable; and populations of Germain’s silvered langur, stump-tailed macaque, and all ungulates except wild pig are undergoing declines.

Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary holds the highest recorded number of species of any protected area in Cambodia, and is home to globally significant populations of several species, including the world’s largest known populations of the Endangered yellow-cheeked crested gibbon and Critically Endangered black-shanked douc langur.

"These results highlight the substantial positive impact conservation activities have had on the globally important biodiversity of Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, such as maintaining a large, stable population of a critically endangered primate, and an increasing population of endangered green peafowl. They also highlight the scale of the threat to wildlife across Cambodia, with significant declines in all deer and wild cattle species in KSWS," said Olly Griffin, WCS Data Analyst and Operations Technical Advisor.

The report details the results of standardized line transects used to monitor the distribution and population of 13 key species since 2010. The distribution estimates have been produced for these 13 species using kernel density estimates (KDE). These have been used to inform the management zonation process for KSWS, representing the first time a robust, data driven process incorporating spatial biological monitoring data has been used for zonation in Cambodia.

“The KSWS biodiversity monitoring team is proud of their work over 10 years in collecting this high quality data, with the teams walking a combined total of 9,460 km (5878  miles) during these surveys. With both Indigenous Bunong and Khmer team members, we all work hard to protect Cambodia’s precious wildlife, and call on other Cambodians to do the same,” said Sot Vandouen, WCS Wildlife Monitoring Team Coordinator.

WCS’s work in Keo Seima is highlighted by the KSWS REDD+ project, which started in 2010 and focuses on a core region (166,983 hectares or 644 square miles) of the protected area. The project is the largest carbon emission reduction program in Cambodia’s land use sector and has played a critical role in demonstrating REDD+ successes conserving high biodiversity value landscapes. Experiences from the implementation of the KSWS REDD+ project is also providing important learning outcomes informing the design of Cambodia’s National REDD+ Program, as part of the country’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions under the Paris Climate Agreement. The project includes 20 villages, home to around 18,000 people that benefit from better management of the protected area and support for community development.

H.E Net Phaktra, Ministry of Environment said: “The KSWS REDD+ project has had a significant positive impact on local communities, and this biodiversity survey demonstrates the significant positive impact on wildlife populations as well, for which project staff, local communities, provincial and national government, donors, and carbon buyers should all be proud."

WCS’s work in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary is supported by the sale of carbon credits, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), l’Agence Française de Développement (AFD), and the Global Environment Facility.

WCS also thanks the Ministry of Environment, Mondulkiri and Kratie provincial authorities, and Mondulkiri and Kratie Departments of Environment for their strong cooperation in conserving Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary.