With 23 conservation areas and seven national parks, Cambodia would seem to be an eco-trippers paradise. On paper, over 20% of Cambodia is under some form of protection – an impressive figure. But reality belies the illusion: next door to the provincial office of a leading ecotourism coordinator, a restaurant selling bush meat does a brisk business. At a stall deep inside the nearby Kirirom National Park, the menu includes wild boar.
With little incentive to conserve, local communities surrounding biodiversity-rich areas are driven by sheer economics to indulge in destructive activities. Why work planting rice a whole day for one dollar when a single felled tree can fetch thousands?
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