Birds of Cambodia’s Botum Sakor National Park
Botum Sakor National Park, situated along Cambodia’s southwestern coast below the Cardamom Mountains in Koh Kong Province, is home to some of the wildest, unexplored forests in the whole of Southeast Asia. Long recognized by naturalists globally as a region of pristine biodiversity, in 1993 an area covering 171,250 hectares was established through royal decree as a national park. Over the years, the park has been studied and observed by a growing number of nature experts and NGO’s – all concerned for its future conservation.
In 2009, one of the most comprehensive studies of the park’s wildlife was completed by conservation NGO Frontier Cambodia, which helped to highlight the importance of the park’s biodiversity. The four-year study recorded a large range of rare and endangered species, including 49 species of mammals, such as the endangered dhole (Cuon alpinus), Asian elephants and pileated gibbons. In addition, it documented 69 reptile species, 147 butterfly and an amazing 196 different bird species.
With its lowland evergreen forest and grasslands that merge with coastal floodplains and mangrove forests, Botum Sakor National Park is ideal habitat for birdlife. Among a number of unusual species, several are of particular importance to conservationists, including the endangered white-winged duck (Cairina scutulata), one of the rarest waterfowl in Asia. Other species that are threatened or near-threatened are the green peafowl (Pavo muticus), lesser adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus), Oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster), great hornbill (Buceros bicornis) and gray-headed fish eagle (Icthyophaga icthyaetus).
In June last year, a team of professional birders from the renowned Sam Veasna Center for Wildlife Conservation visited Cardamom Tented Camp for a four-day exploration of the area’s birdlife, and recorded 55 different species in the short time they were there. Among the birds they sighted were Oriental pied hornbill, white-rumped shama, black-and-red broadbill, and green-eared barbet. The Sam Veasna Center runs birding and wildlife viewing trips with unique access to Wildlife Conservation Society sites across Cambodia. With over 13 years of experience, they have recorded hundreds of rare or endangered bird sightings in unique areas of biodiversity, including Botum Sakor National Park. Check out their bird watching report and extensive list of all 55 bird species recorded over their four-day stay here.
At Cardamom Tented Camp, all guests have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities geared towards assisting the conservation of the park and all species of wildlife that inhabit it, plus a percentage of all room rates are directly donated to the Wildlife Alliance forest rangers who patrol our 18,000 ha concession. So when we say ‘Your Stay Keeps the Forest Standing’, we really mean it.
While Sam Veasna Center’s report does not describe our standard packages, we can arrange similar customized programs for guests and special interest groups upon request. If you’d like to get involved and help us keep the forest standing, get in touch with us and book your stay now.