Many decades of civil wars between Cambodian Government and Khmer Rouge made some parts of Cardamom Mountains as one of the most abandoned areas in Cambodia. However, the wars have left Cambodia with landmines, poor, and uneducated people.
Whenever we went to conduct surveys in the forest we always face problems something like dangerous snares and poacher with guns. Poachers set snares to catch tiger, bear, and other valuable wildlife. We need to walk carefully otherwise we would die easily if we step on that kind of snares.
One trip we faced was that we went for a survey with CI's rangers and the team arrested 6 poachers and loggers and three guns. When rangers went to surround the loggers we as researchers needed to lay down on the ground to avoid any incident shots from both sides.
IN DEPTH: Risks to Rangers
Other problems were that we need to be careful with landmines which have left from the war. In that case we need to work with local people to guide us to the forest and we needed to walk right away on the people track and sometime we can see landmine sign just 3 meters away from us.
LEARN MORE: Read more scientists' accounts of working in conflict areas.
Sitha Som received support to carry out his research in Cambodia through the Conservation Leadership Programme. CI is partnering on this initiative with Birdlife International, Fauna & Flora International, the Wildlife Conservation Society and BP. Learn more about the Conservation Leadership Programme.