Experience the life of wild-honey gatherers in the heart of one of Earth’s top 200 biodiversity hotspots, harbouring the largest population of endangered wild cattle in Mondulkiri Protected Forest, in eastern Cambodia. Genuine ecotourism.
What to experience?
Dei Ey (pronounce Day “A”) is an ethnic Phnong Community living in the middle of Mondulkiri Protected Forest, on the border of the Phnom Pich Wildlife Sanctuary. This is one of Earth’s top 200 biodiversity hotspots, harbouring the world’s largest population of endangered wild cattle, the Banteng, and it is also considered to be prime tiger landscape. Together, there are five protected areas bordering on one another preserving wildlife migration corridors. One of the elephant migration corridors passes through the Dei Ey Community Forest.
Dei Ey villagers offer guided tours where you can experience a forest camp, the life of wild-honey gatherers (March to May), or the Spirit Forest on treks ranging in length from one day to three days. You will learn about their special relationship with the forest, and how they are trying to protect it along with their traditional way of life. They have built a comfortable community forest lodge for guests to stay in when not camping in the forest.
Beyond guiding you inside the forest and looking for wildlife, the village guides will also demonstrate which forest resources they use and how they are able to harvest them. WWF has been working with the villagers on the sustainable harvest of honey, as well as producing a value-added product for the international fair trade market.
How does it help?
With a view to engaging the Dei Ey Community as partners in the stewardship of their forest resources, WWF and the Forest Administration have worked together with the local population to increase awareness of the value and the sustainable use of forest resources, as well as protecting and guaranteeing their land rights. The community has defined which areas of the forest can be used for agriculture, from which areas forest products can be harvested, and which areas are under strict conservation. The members of the Dei Ey Community are the owners and operators of the experience.
Tourism adds value to the forest from which the Phnong earn a livelihood and gives them an income dependant on the conservation of their forest’s biodiversity. When you visit the Dei Ey Community in addition to supporting residents’ livelihoods through guide fees and purchase of food and accommodation, part of the money that you spend is given directly to the community for conservation activities such as patrolling for poachers and encroachment, as well as wildlife monitoring.
The protection of wildlife corridors is an important part of the strategy to protect wildlife habitat, ensuring the growth of wildlife populations and their expansion into neighbouring areas.
Pichrada District, Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia
Ms. Noeu Noketh