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The area had appeared abandoned, with people living nearby fishing or hunting illegally.

However after WOMEN created the conservation programme, there was collaboration with experts from government departments and local authorities to set up bird and fish patrols and educate people about conservation.

The area was estimated to be 90 to 95 percent protected but opportunists were still taking part in illegal activities such as fishing with illegal nets or hunting birds.

Mr Sarith said his organisation collaborated with officials and authorities to spread information and educate people to join conservation efforts.

“We have a community-based education programme on climate change about the preservation of natural resources,” he said. “We instruct them about fisheries laws and forest law relating to animal hunting.

“We explain to them about the law and the benefits they would get when the natural resources are still there.”

Boeung Sne has limitations as a potential tourist area due to the size of the natural lake and its bird life.

Mr Sarith is organising a programme to provide community tourist attractions to increase income for people living near the lake.

“We will set up an ecotourism site,” he said. “I will organise to have restaurants and boats to look at the animals. Currently, there are people who watch the birds, but not in big numbers.”

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