Target: OES Assistant Secretary Ambassador Judith G. Garber
Goal: Support international funding for Conservation International’s trust fund for the protected forest area in the Cardamoms, Cambodia.
Conservation International is attempting to protect vast forest land containing endangered species with a long-term trust fund for their conservation scheme in Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains, and is aiming to secure $7.5 million from developed countries and corporate interests. The program, established in tandem with the Cambodian government in 2002, is responsible for the protection of 400,000 hectares of forest land in the southwest of the country.
The area is home to roughly one third of Cambodia’s rare and endangered species, including the endangered Asian elephant. Only around 200 to 250 elephants are in the Cardamoms, with similar numbers in the east of the country, yet these are still the largest remaining populations of wild Asian elephants in the world.
Recent footage of a herd of elephants in the region has indicated that the program is working. While logging has continued in Cambodian forests, the protected area has seen a much smaller decline in forest area. Outside of the protected region, forests declined by 15 percent between 2006 and 2012, compared to 2 percent inside.
If Conservation International receives the $7.5 million they are aiming for, along with the $2.5 million they have already with contributions from their own global conservation fund and from Daikin, the Japanese air conditioning firm, they will be able to guarantee funding for the protection work forever. Support their efforts to protect this pristine forest land and the wildlife that calls it home.
Dear Assistant Secretary Ambassador Garber,
Conservation International is looking for funding for their forest protection scheme in southwest Cambodia, and it’s up to the developed countries of the world to help them reach their goal. The area in question, a 400,000 hectare region in the Cardamom Mountains, is home to a vast array of rare and endangered creatures, making up one third of such species in the country, as well as the forests themselves. With the recently released footage of endangered wild Asian elephants grazing in the protected forest area indicating that the program is working, it is imperative that the work continue.
Illegal logging in Cambodia is putting the forests and the ecosystems therein at risk, and the practice will not be stamped out overnight. However, independent studies have shown that inside the protected area, the forests declined by significantly less than the area immediately outside it. The program can be called a success, and as such, should be continued.
The U.S. has a responsibility, as a major player in global environmental affairs, to act responsibly. In this case, the responsible thing is to contribute to the $7.5 million required to keep this program running indefinitely and encourage other nations to follow suit. Please support Conservation International’s trust fund to protect this unique forest region.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Paul Mason