These are the magical-looking dry forests of the Preah Vihear province, Northern Cambodia 😍✨🌳 They're the largest remaining remnants of an ecosystem that once covered much of the region!
These forests are home to some truly special animals, including this badass red-headed vulture. Ever heard of the Asian vulture crisis? Vulture numbers across the continent have collapsed, and the three species which call these forests their home are now all critically endangered 😢🐣.
Some of the amazing wildlife living here are found almost nowhere else in the world 🌏. Among these is the Giant Ibis, another critically endangered bird that forages for frogs and fish in the seasonally flooded forests 🐸🐟.
Waterholes like this, known as trapeangs, are a really important feature of the environment providing water all year round and a refuge for things like insects and frogs in the dry season 🐛🦋🐞🐜. Things like the Giant Ibis and many other waterbirds come to rely on trapeangs for water and food 💧🍽️.
Tragically, many waterholes are no longer safe for wildlife, as people have started hunting here using poisons ❌⚰️. It’s kind of crazy, but they use highly toxic carbofuran pesticides to poison the water, and then eat everything that gets killed 🤦🏽♀️🤦🏼♂️.
My name's Emiel (on the right with the pose straight out of Vogue) - I’m a researcher from the University of Edinburgh who's spent the past few years trying to understand and help solve this poisoning situation, together with colleagues from the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Together, we’ve implemented a programme to monitor the waterholes, so we can measure how often they are poisoned, and better understand the effects these poisonings are having 🕵🏼♀️🕵🏽♀️.
By interviewing hundreds of local people, I’ve learnt that not only are many of Cambodia's most precious wildlife being affected by poisoning, but so are the local people: as their cows, chickens and dogs are all falling victim 🐄🐓🐕. The farmer pictured below lost 12 of his cows! 😲 Some people have even become sick after drinking the water, so the problem is only getting worse!
We need to engage and cooperate with local communities to end wildlife poisoning 👨👩👧👧👩👩👧👧.
Next month, we’ll be designing a strategy to do just that, but before we can implement this we need your help! We’re almost halfway to our crowdfunding target of £3,000, which will fund a small team to carry out and evaluate a pilot project, and hopefully demonstrate the success of our strategy 🙌. You can help us in our mission to save Cambodia's wildlife and it's local people from this poisoning, or just find out more about the project, at the link below - every penny helps! 😘