Freshwater, Forests, and Fishing Cats

Dara the otter

CI’s Freshwater, Forests and Fishing Cats project in Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake has been selected by The Walt Disney Company as a recipient of funding through Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green.

Nearly three million people living around the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia rely on it for fresh water and food. But as people cut down the flooded forests that keep the lake clean, the water gets dirtier and fish populations decrease, along with the otters and fishing cats who rely on them for food.

CI has been researching hairy-nosed otters (Lutra sumatrana) in Cambodia since 2006, and supports a higher threat classification for the species that will make them a higher priority for protection. Last year, CI helped an otter named Dara, whose mother was killed by a local fisherman on Tonle Sap Lake, find a new home. He now lives in a private enclosure at the Phnom Tamau Zoo where his furry face and adorable antics will hopefully both inspire protection of other otters and lead to a captive breeding program.
Watch a video of Dara in his home >>

Freshwater and people in Cambodia. © CI/Photo by Annette OlssonCI is also working with the Cambodian government and local communities to establish community fish sanctuaries that protect the lake’s biodiversity and benefit the local people.

Beginning August 24th, kids can vote on the Friends for Change website to help Disney decide how to distribute donations among five “water” programs. Our project will receive at least $25,000, but the amount depends on the percentage of votes earned – first place gets $100,000 – so tell the kids in your life to get involved and vote today at!

Andrea Wolfson is the Editorial Manager of Corporate Communications and Marketing at the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business, Conservation International.

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