British conservationist given prestigious award from the Royal Government of Cambodia

From: Fauna & Flora International
Published: Fri Jan 29 2010

The Royal Government of Cambodia has awarded British conservationist, Dr Jenny Daltry, the title of Officer of the Order of Sahemetrei, given to foreigners for their "distinguished services to the King and to the Nation."

Dr Daltry was honoured with the award for wildlife conservation activities within the Kingdom of Cambodia. She has worked as Senior Conservation Biologist for British-based international conservation organization Fauna & Flora International (FFI) for 15 years.

Much of her time has been spent in Cambodia, where she led a number of field expeditions that resulted in the increased protection of forested areas covering more than 1,000,000 hectares in the Cardamom Mountains. In 2000, Dr Daltry re-discovered the Siamese crocodile (which was previously thought to be extinct in the wild) and subsequently spearheaded a pioneering community-based programme to conserve this critically endangered reptile.

Impressively, Dr Daltry also led a ground-breaking initiative to establish a new generation of Cambodian scientists. This country has an incredible diversity of wildlife and contains many of the richest habitats remaining in the Mekong Basin. Yet because the Pol Pot regime largely wiped out the educated classes, Cambodia lacks enough qualified practitioners to manage its wildlife and help it to develop sustainably.

Under FFI Cambodia’s University Capacity Building Programme, Dr Daltry created the first permanent Masters of Science programme at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. 147 Cambodians have enrolled on the course so far. She is also the founder and chief editor of the country’s first peer-reviewed scientific journal - the Cambodian Journal of Natural History – to encourage Cambodians to publish and share their knowledge of Cambodian’s wildlife and natural resources. The second issue of the journal has just recently been published.

"I am overwhelmed and grateful." Dr Daltry said. "For a conservationist to receive this rare honour does, I think, signify the importance that Cambodia places on its wildlife, forests, and protected areas. Cambodia is changing fast, but economic development does not have to mean the loss of its wildlife or priceless environmental services. The achievement I feel most proud of is helping talented Cambodians, from the government ministries to villages, to become leaders in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. I also thank my colleagues and co-workers for their tireless commitment and support for more than a decade. "

The Order was presented to Dr Daltry by H.E. Ty Sokhun, Head of Forestry Administration during a formal ceremony on January 29th 2010. It was attended by senior Government Officials, international dignitaries such as His Excellency Rafael Dochao Moreno, Head of the EU Delegation, and His Excellency Andrew Mace, British Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, and representatives of conservation NGOs including FFI CEO, Mark Rose.

Company: Fauna & Flora International
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