In April 2013 the Mondulkiri Ethnic Project signed an agreement with my Bunong indigenous elders from the Putang Village and the Community authorities. This agreement to increase the elephant’s numbers and protected forest for elephant’s foods in a large area of pristine Community forest use near Sen Monorom. The Community forest use borders the Sima Protected forest so there is a lot of wildlife, from birds, to deer, wild pigs, monkey and gibbons. There are many beautiful waterfalls, swimming holes, valleys…..it is a very special place.
Mr.Vanny( Bunong guide the project manager ), the Cambodian founder of the Mondulkiri Ethnic Project, explains why the Mondulkiri Ethnic Project is very important to them:
Protected the forest from logging in community forest uses and cultures
The Mondulkiri Ethnic Project is very important to me because I would really like to take care of the forest. It is difficult.
The local indigenous (Bunong community needs to have an income. To make money they are cutting down the forest to sell the timber to Vietnam or to clear the forest to make small farms to grow rice. As the population is growing, the need for more rice is also growing. So more and more forest is being cut down. I am really worried that before long all the forest in Mondulkiri Province will have been cut down. The thought of losing this special jungle area makes me very sad.
Our idea is to protect the forest so it can be used in ways that will still provide the communities with an income, without losing the jungle itself. Providing jungle trek experience for tourists and developing traditional way to collect the wild foods, vegetable from the jungle will earn income for the Bunong indigenous people. We will also be saving habitats for elephants and other endangered wildlife.