Cambodia: Ancient Temples and Endangered Birds
Jan. 22-Feb. 6, 2020
Leader: Jan Hansen
$4995 from Siem Reap
This tour will provide participants with an opportunity to visit one of southeast Asia’s most exciting destinations. Poorly known and not often visited by American travelers, Cambodia has much to offer in terms of its rich cultural and historical heritage and its dwindling populations of several of the world’s rarest birds. The tour will be conducted in coordination with the Sam Veasna Center for Wildlife Conservation. The center is Cambodia’s leading and most renowned ecotourism operator, and has a an excellent reputation for their efforts in preserving sustainable human communities and endangered bird species. The tour will give us a chance to see Cambodia from the inside out as we will visit many places that well off-the-beaten path taken by most tour operators. The tour will include visits to many of Cambodia’s best wildlife sanctuaries as well as visits to historical sites like the ancient Angkor Wat temple complex and the city of Phnom Phen. Sam Veasna is a non-non-profit organization that redirects all of its earnings into local communities and wildlife preservation in an attempt to benefit both people and animals through their work. Such efforts are difficult in a country like Cambodia where government focus on sustainable wildlife is minimal, so supporting the work of such organizations is environmentally responsible tourism.
The tour includes opportunities to see some of the world’s most endangered birds including the magnificent Giant Ibis, a shy forest dwelling ibis with a remaining population estimated at only about 370 birds. It has been eradicated in all of the surrounding countries and persists now only in localized areas of Cambodia. Another critically endangered species available on the tour will be the White-shouldered Ibis; a bit less rare that the Giant Ibis but also eradicated from most other parts of southeast Asia. We will also witness the unforgettable spectacle of the waterbird colony at Lake Tonle Sap where large numbers of herons and egrets are joined by Lesser and Greater adjutants (both in rapid decline) and Painted Storks.
We will also spend time at the Vulture Restaurant at Veal Krous where 3 species of critically endangered vultures come to feed on animal carcasses and in a grassland sanctuary searching for the very rare Bengal Florican. At Kratie on the Mekong River we will search for Asian Golden Weaver and the recently described Mekong Wagtail, and near Phnom Phen for Cambodian Tailorbird. The tour will conclude in the historic city of Phnom Phen where we will visit the city’s most important cultural sites including the royal palace and Independence Monument.