The planned construction of three luxury residential estates in vital wildlife refuge and popular tourist site Bokor National Park marks the latest update in a wider tale of loss for Cambodia’s native forests.
Also known as Preah Monivong Bokor National Park, the protected area in south-west Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains region offers a refreshingly cool climate, spectacular ocean views, boulder-strewn waterfalls and poignant decay in a haunting, 1920s French hill station. In pre-pandemic times, these attractions brought in thousands of tourists each year to an area known for its abundant forests and varied wildlife.
Environmental activist group Mother Nature Cambodia says Bokor’s forests are already being destroyed. In a video shared on their Facebook page, an activist – their identity hidden by a large black coat, sunglasses and mask to avoid detection and possible harassment – describes the project and its expected harm to the park’s primary forests before the video cuts away to clips of areas that have already been heavily deforested.
A master plan released by Cambodia’s Ministry of Land Management details how the development will cover just under 19,000 hectares – equivalent to around 35,000 football fields – of the entire 154,000-hectare park.
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