A journey into the heart of Cambodia’s wetlands

Earlier this year, Daphne Kerhoas, WWT’s Senior Project Manager in Cambodia travelled to the Cambodian Lower Mekong Delta.

She was visiting our projects in the protected wetlands of Boeung Prek Lapouv and Anlung  Pring.

This is her story...

First on my itinerary - a boat journey deep into the heart of the labyrinthine wetlands of the Lower Mekong Delta.

The Mekong is one of the greatest rivers in the world, providing freshwater, livelihoods and food to more than 60 million people.

This breath-taking landscape is one of the largest remnants of seasonally flooded grassland in Cambodia. It’s a biological treasure trove, home to water buffalo
and renowned for the many rare birds, including the sarus crane, that come to forage in its wet grasslands. Crane numbers have dropped 70% since 2014 to just 180 in 2023.

We arrive at our destination – a newly created 3,500-metre-long dyke at one of our project sites, Boeung Prek Lapouv.

It’s been created to help restore 40 hectares of wet grassland, one of the most threatened habitats in the region.
At the time I visited in August, it was the start of the wet season and the area is starting to flood. But come January, when the rains have passed, water levels recede and the grasslands dry up.
This makes it harder for the cranes to find food, like the water chestnut that grows in Cambodia's wet grasslands. The dyke will keep the water on the land for longer after the floods recede. This will encourage more food to grow for the cranes to eat.

After a tasty lunch perched on the dyke, shared with my Cambodian colleagues, it’s time to get back on the boats, to travel further through the wet grasslands, to the site of our newly planted flooded forest.

Nearly 16,000 seedlings were planted here during the dry season. We chose this area as it was a former flooded forest known to have been a popular roost for wetland birds.

Now, as the seasonal floods arrive, it’s time to get our feet wet and see how our tiny seedlings, now under a foot of water, are getting on.

The flooded forest will provide valuable fish nurseries and help support the people that rely on these wetlands for their livelihoods.

In total we’re planting 19,000 seedlings... reviving 13 hectares of flooded forest.

The next day, it’s time to meet some of the nearly 300 farmers we’re working with to support a switch to a more sustainable rice.

The red jasmine rice being grown in these rice paddies uses less pesticides and needs three times less water than other rice varieties.

It's been an amazing experience, meeting the people we're working with in Cambodia and seeing first-hand the work your support is helping us achieve.

Thanks to you, we're making a big difference for wetlands, wildlife and people in Cambodia. I'll be returning in the dry season, and it'll be interesting to see how our projects are progressing. I'll keep you posted.

This photo story was brought to you by Daphne Kerhoas, WWT’s Senior Project Manager in Cambodia.

Thank you to the following organisations who have generously funded the work mentioned in this feature: 


Mandai Nature

The Albert George and Nancy Caroline Youngman Trust

You can find out more about our work in Cambodia here:

One seedling at a time

Discover how we're reviving Cambodia's valuable flooded forests.

The Kingdom of wetlands

Find out how we're supporting communities in Cambodia, one of the most wetland dependent countries in the world.

Securing Cambodia's wetlands

Find out what WWT is doing to save Cambodia's precious wetlands and the wildlife that live there.