Our study area

Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary (PKWS)

PKWS is situated in Koh Kong province near the Thai border and spans 237.5 sq km. The sanctuary was established in 1993 and holds one of the largest and densest mangrove forests in Southeast Asia. In a recent paper, the IUCN described PKWS as being among “the most significant mangrove forests in Southeast Asia.” (1)


The sanctuary connects biologically intact mangrove forest in the west with evergreen forest in the east,” (1), which is contiguous with the Cardamom Mountains, one of the largest forested areas in Cambodia.

Rich in biodiversity, PKWS provides habitat for a large array of globally threatened species; a known 24 mammal species, including:

Critically Endangered Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica); (see camera trap captures from 2015 here)

Endangered Hog Deer (Axis porcinus) (2015 capture here), Dhole (Cuon alpinus) and Pileated Gibbon (Hylobates pileatus); Vulnerable Smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata), Large-spotted Civet (Viverra megaspila) (2015 capture here) and Sambar Deer (Rusa unicolor) (2015 capture here) (3),;

<28 bird species (3) including Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Calidris pygmaea) (4), and;

marine species, such as the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin (Sousa chinensis), Indo-Pacific Finless Porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides) and Irrawaddy Dolphin. (Orcaella brevirostris) (1) all Vulnerable.

One of Cambodia’s “most significant protected areas, 60% of PKWS falls within the Koh Kapik and Associated Islets Ramsar Site, and crucially, may be one of the last regional strongholds for Fishing Cat.

Local communities

Over 10,000 people live within PKWS in 13 villages across 6 communes and 3 districts (2). The human population is highly dependent on natural resources; livelihoods are mainly based around fishing, crabbing and charcoal kiln production and exportation. Overexploitation of wildlife and non-timber forest products (NTFPs), land clearance for agriculture, illegal hunting and sand-dredging of waterways are major threats to this ecosystem (2; 3).

Management zoning

PKWS is the first protected area in Cambodia to have been officially assigned management zones (see below) approved by a Royal Sub-Decree in 2011.

It is considered a pilot area for the implementation of zoning best practice (3; 6). The IUCN zoning report (3) acknowledges the lack of data on globally threatened species including the Fishing Cat, and calls for further research to be carried out by taxon specialists to create species conservation plans- this is where we come in!

Management zones


  1. Smith, B., Kong, S., and Saroeun, L. (2014). Conservation status and the use of Irrawaddy dolphins as a flagship species for climate adaptation in the Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia. Thailand: IUCN. 80pp.
  2. M. Marschke, K. Nong Adaptive Co-Management: Lessons from Coastal Cambodia (2003), Canadian Journal of Development Studies Vol 24 pp.369-383
  3. Dara, A., Piseth, H., Mather, R., & Kim Sreng, K. (2009). Integrated assessment for identification of a preliminary zoning scheme for Peam Krasob Wildlife Sanctuary in southwest Cambodia.
  4. Mahood, S. et al (2014) Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes, Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea and Lesser Crested Tern Thalasseus bengalensis: new for Cambodia
  5. Kastl, B., Kimsreng, K., Kong, S., Chuerattanakul, S., Prohorsarith, N., & Ran, O.(n.d.). Study of Coastal Mangrove Forest Devastation and Channel Sedimentation: Community-based Solutions Koh Kong Province, Cambodia.
  6. International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN]. (2009). Zoning Proposal for Peam Krasop
    Wildlife Sanctuary, Koh Kong Province, Cambodia, 1–8.

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