Projects: Lower Mekong and Central Annamites

The Lost World of the Cambodia-Lao P.D.R.-Vietnam Tri-Border Region

The Cambodia-Lao P.D.R.-Vietnam tri-border region remains a large forested wilderness in central Indochina.

Decades of civil warfare in Cambodia isolated much of this landscape from commercial logging or agriculture. As a result, the tri-border area contains some of the largest remaining tracts of natural habitat in the region for large herbivores as well as globally threatened bird species.

Endangered species abound...
Asian elephants still roam this landscape, along with many other endangered and elusive species including the tiger, marbled cat, sun bear, gaur, Siamese crocodile, and giant ibis.

... but are threatened by poaching
Wildlife poaching is a serious problem in this area despite the establishment of several large national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Elephants are killed for their ivory, bone, and meat. Tigers and bears are butchered for their parts, which fetch high prices for traditional medicinal use in China.

Logging concessions now threaten to clear large amounts of forests, jeopardizing the integrity of the landscape's protected areas. Fortunately, much of the forest habitat still remains.

The Tri-Border Landscape
The tri-border landscape centers around Kontuey Neak, or the dragon's tail, the remote region where the national boundaries of Cambodia, Lao P.D.R., and Vietnam intersect. Although it represents one of the last wilderness areas in Asia, logging concessions granted to national and international companies threaten to fragment and destroy these forests and the biodiversity harbored within them.

WWF on the ground

Both Cambodia and Lao P.D.R. have declared several large national parks and wildlife sanctuaries within this landscape. This protected areas system is anchored by the 3,325 km 2 Virachey National Park in northeastern Cambodia, where WWF has actively supported the hiring, equipping, training, and patrolling of staff since January 1998.

Although Virachey's wildlife resources are poorly documented, the area is suspected to support significant populations of threatened or endangered large mammals such as elephant, gaur, banteng, and tiger. If kouprey (a possibly extinct species of wild cattle) still survive anywhere, they may be found in these forests.

Strengthening management and law enforcement
To secure a future for the Asian elephant and other species of the tri-border landscape, WWF will work to strengthen management and law enforcement efforts within and outside the protected areas of this landscape, as well as across political borders.

Preventing poaching and unsustainable logging
WWF is supporting protection efforts to prevent poaching and the unsustainable logging of the forests that are critical for the survival of the landscape's Asian elephants and many other endangered species, before it is simply too late.

The tri-border area was selected by WWF's Asian Rhinoceros & Elephant Action Strategy (AREAS) as a top priority landscapes, because of its habitat quality and potentially large elephant population. The same landscape was also selected as one of seven top priority tiger conservation landscapes by the WWF network.

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