KOH KONG PROVINCE mainly (Chi-Phat, Trapeang Roung), (?)

11o34´18" N/103o19´10" E (Kaoh Kong),

11o19´39" N/103o31´22" E (Chi Pat),


Biome 2 million hectares, Sea level to 1,813 m (Phnom Aural), mountains with dense tropical evergreen rain forest, montane above 700 m, dwarf rainforest in S, and pine forest on the Elephant Mountains 


Birding Site Guide


The Cardamom mountains are in SW Cambodia, extending only a little into E Thailand; Trat Province. They cover over 2 million hectares, and contain some of the best remaining tracts of Indo-Malay rainforest of great bio-diversity. There are threats as ever from loggers and conversion of cleared land for palm oil plantations and damage has been done even within the national park. However recently the Cambodian government announced there would be no more land concessions here, but unfortunately does not seem to be keeping its pledge.


In total over 1.5 million hectares of the eco-region, in Cambodia and Thailand (where it marginally extends into and merges with other eco-regions) countries has been protected. However protection is poor and most of the special eco-region of these mountains in Thailand has been degraded. Cambodia at the moment still has relatively pristine areas.


CAMBODIA: Botum-Sakor National Park (152,000 ha), Dong Peng Multiple Use Area (15,000 ha), Kirirom National Park (25,000 ha), Phnom Aural (242,000 ha), Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary (8,000 ha), Phnom Bokor National Park (158,000 ha), Phnom Sankos Wildlife Sanctuary (317,000 ha), Preah Monivong National Park (140,000 ha), Ream National Park (14,000 ha, on the coast with mangroves), Roniem Daun Sam Wildlife Sanctuary (178,750 ha) and Samlaut Multiple Use Area (63,000 ha).


THAILAND: Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary (103,000 ha), Khao Chamao Khao Wong National Park (8,368 ha), Chalerm Pra Kiet Somdej Prathep Rattana Rachasuda Wildlife Sanctuary (20,100 ha), Khao Khitchakut National Park (5,870), Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary (7,200 ha), Mu Koh Chang Marine National Park (66,000 ha), Namtok Khlong Kaeo National Park (104,840 ha) and Namtok Phliu National Park (10,000 ha).


There is a small eco-tourism base in the village of Chi-Phat and another at Trapeang Roung (1 hour drive from Kaoh Kong) which both desperately needs more visitors. On the E side of the mountains lies the Kirirom National Park (Cambodian) which is a more visited part of the area.


So far 450 bird species have been recorded, including endemics/near endemics to these mountains: Chestnut-headed Partridge Arborophila cambodiana and the Siamese PartridgeArborophila diversa and the endangered Green Peafowl. Since much of the area has never been formally explored this is bound to increase. Already two new species of reptile have been described.


Mammals: Endangered species found here include the largest population of Asian ElephantElephas maximumsin in the country. Others are Banteng Bos javanicus, Gaur Bos gaurus, Southwest Chinese Serow Capricornis sumatraensis, Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa, Indochinese Tiger Panthera tigris corbetti, Dhole Cuon alpinus, Malayan Sunbear Helarctos malayanus, Pileated Gibbon Hylobates pileatus, Spotted Linsang Prionodon pardicolor, Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata, Large Indian Civet Viverra Zibetha, Sunda Pangolin Manis javanica, Khting Voar Pseudonovibos spiralis and Tenasserim White-bellied Rat Niviventer tenaster. Two cetaceans inhabit the rivers, the Irrawaddy Orcaella brevirostris and Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin Sousa chinensis.


There is speculation that Sumatran Dicerorhinus sumatrensis and Javan Rhinoceros Rhinoceros sondaicus are still extant here.


Reptiles: Several new species have been found here: the Cambodian Kukri Snake Oligodon kampucheaensis, a new gecko Cnemaspis neangthyi and a new species of legless lizard Dibamus dalaiensis. The Critically endangered Siamese crocodile Crocodylus siamensis is still hanging on here. Burmese Python Python molurus, Frog-faced Soft-shell Turtle Pelochelys cantorii and Royal Turtle batagur baska all occur.


Plants: Most of the region is covered in evergreen rain forest with a different type of thick evergreens above 700m. Canopy trees include Hopea pierrei, which is a rare tree except hereParkia streptocarpaHeritiera javanicaSwintonia pierrei and Syzygium cinereum. Other angiosperm tree species are Anisoptera costataAnisoptera glabraDipterocarpus costatusHopea odorataShorea hypochraCaryota urens and Oncosperma tigillarium.


There are areas of dwarf conifer dominated by Dacrydium elatum on the waterlogged S slopes of the Elephant Mountains with Podocarpus neriifolius and a few Podocarpus fleuryi and Podocarpus imbricatus. The understorey is Vaccinium viscifolium and Schima crenata. Also in the Elephant Range on the Kirirom Plateau are prominent area of Pinus merkusii with Dipterocarpus obtusifolius, Tenasserim Pine Pinus kesiyaDacrycarpus imbricatusPodocarpus neriifolius,Podocarpus pilgeri and Nageia wallichianaRhodomyrtus tomentosaPhyllanthus officinalis and several Melastomataceae and Rubiaceae.


The montane zone is dominated by Fagaceae including Lithocarpus cambodienseisL. guinieriL. farinulentaL. harmandii and Castanopsis cambodiana. Also important are species of Lauraceae (Cinnamomum and Litsea) and Myrtaceae (Syzyngium and Tristania.


Shrubs of Rubiaceae and Euphorbiaceae, palms (Arenga pinnata and Pinanga cochinchinensis), arborescent ferns (Cibotium, Cyathea and Oleandra), Pandanus and Araliaceae. Epiphytic orchids are abundant where frequent mists prevail.


Some areas contain Sphagnum bogs.


Many more species are listed in this paper.

Wild Honey Bee Follow-up Survey in Koh Kong

Other references: Carbon Association Australasia Limited

World Institute For Conservation & Environment: The National Parks and Nature Reserves of Thailand 

Author: BSG