Tmat Boey is an isolated village located in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in the Northern Plains. It was the flagship site for SVC’s unique community ecotourism model established by the Ministry of Environment and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Cambodia Program, directly linking bird-watching tourism, conservation and community development.
Tmat Boey supports globally important breeding populations of two critically endangered Ibis species: the Giant Ibis – a near-mythical species for all bird-watchers, naturalists and conservationists – and the White-shouldered Ibis.
The area is a rich eco-system of open woodlands, seasonally-inundated grasslands, deciduous dipterocarp forest and scattered wetlands. This landscape supports an unparalleled assemblage of threatened bird and mammal species and perhaps the richest remaining example of the characteristic deciduous dipterocarp forest.
A typical trip the Tmat Boey ecolodge takes 4 days and 3 nights taking in other Preah Vihear sites on the way. The best time to see the 2 Ibis species is from January to April though the White-shouldered Ibis can be found with reasonable certainty all year.
The success of the project can be seen in the population increase in White-shouldered Ibis from a single breeding pair in 2002 to eleven pairs in 2016, and at the roost sites a steadily increasing number of individual adults are monitored annually. In September 2016, 38 individuals were counted, a number that could only be dreamt of when the project began over ten years ago.
The ecotourist project at Tmat Boey has been recognised by Wild Asia and received the ‘Responsible Tourism Award 2007.’ In 2008 it was a joint winner of the Equator Prize for poverty reduction through sustainable use of bio-diversity. In 2019, Tmat Boey Ecolodge was runner-up for Green Destination's 100 Sustainable Destinations prize for Best of Ecotourism.
Birds are easiest to see during the cooler, dry months of December-March when the trees have lost their leaves and waterbirds are concentrated at seasonal waterholes, known as Trapeangs in Khmer. Some areas are inaccessible in the wet season (May-October). January to April is the best time to see the Ibis
Lowland deciduous dipterocarp forest, often mistakenly referred to as dry forest. Trapeangs dot the landscape and there are fairly extensive areas of bamboo in riverine areas.
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