Prek Toal, Southeast Asia’s largest waterbird colony, has been recognized as a Wetland of International Importance, the Ministry of Environment announced on Wednesday.
The 21,342-hectare bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap lake in Battambang province’s Ek Phnom district received the distinction following a 16-year-old conservation effort by the ministry and the Wildlife Conservation Society, according to a statement released by the ministry.
“Prek Toal now supports more than 50,000 breeding waterbirds of at least ten globally threatened species,” the statement said.
It added that the sanctuary was the fourth wetland to receive such a distinction in Cambodia and the first in 16 years.
Bou Vorsak, program manager for the NGO BirdLife International, said the recognition would bring a number of benefits.
“The site will be internationally recognized as a globally important wetland. Secondly, it will attract more from the donor community to support the site…and thirdly, it will attract more tourists to visit the site,” he said.