Conservation and Environment in Cambodia: Monthly Updates
Cambodia Marine Conservation Project – August 2012
This month marked the beginning of our new seahorse survey schedule. We trained each volunteer in seahorse identification and survey methods and completed 8 surveys at randomly selected GPS points. We aim to complete at least a survey a day over the next year. Volunteers were also trained in reef check methodology. We repainted the English school and successfully met this month’s targets for our new playground.
We completed 3 reef check surveys in the first week of August in an effort to monitor fish and invertebrate populations as well as substrate composition and general reef health.
Surveys were carried out at House Reef and Boatman’s Bay on permanent transect lines. We will resume reef check training at the end of the month for surveys commencing in September. We are now building a detailed database in order to compare fish populations and reef health over the past year.
A sea turtle was spotted on one of our dive sights this month, giving volunteers increased motivation and satisfaction in our efforts so far. The hunt for photographic evidence continues.
We have so far taken GPS coordinates for 25 seahorses found around Koh Rong Samloem and volunteers have identified species, gender, and if male, pregnant or not, and taken several morphological measurements.
Volunteers have been trained in seahorse identification and survey methodology ready for September. We aim to complete at least 1 survey per day over the next year in order to draw monthly, seasonal and yearly comparisons. This will no doubt give an insight to these fragile creatures and the unique environment in which they live.
Volunteers have been exploratory diving in various areas between Koh Rong Samloem and Koh Kohn in an effort to establish new seahorse territories. So far we have reached depths of 13 m and sighted several adult seahorses. This will help us expand the area of seahorse territories and enable us to better protect them.
Volunteers as always have been cleaning up the beach and around the village. This is a necessary task on the island and is builds strong relationships with the village.
The recently repainted school was fun for both students and volunteers. The volunteers are getting to know more and more of the children every day and this helps in attracting students to class. We have a strong focus on conversational English and improving sentences. This engages the children and encourages them to use their English outside of the classroom. Friday’s remain Fun Days, with jumping off the pier and swimming with the volunteers. The addition of Delphine the Dolphin and our whale (both inflatable) encourages the smaller children to boost their confidence in the water.
This month we have completed the clearing and levelling of a 15 m x 7.5 m area where a community playground will be built by the volunteers. We have marked out boundaries and dug trenches ready for our wall. Next month we will be moving sand into the area to create a nice soft base for the children.
Project Coordinator, Cambodia