Introducing Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre
This wonderful wildlife sanctuary for rescued animals is home to gibbons, sun bears, elephants, tigers, lions, deer and a massive bird enclosure. They were all taken from poachers or abusive owners and receive care and shelter here as part of a sustainable breeding program. Wherever possible animals are released back into the wild once they have recovered, The centre operates breeding programs for a number of globally threatened species.
The sanctuary occupies a vast site south of the capital and its animals are kept in excellent conditions by Southeast Asian standards, with plenty of room to roam in enclosures that have been improved and expanded over the years with help from international wildlife NGOs. Spread out as it is, it feels like a zoo crossed with a safari park.
The centre is home to the world’s largest captive collections of pileated gibbons and Malayan sun bears, as well as other rarities such as Siamese crocodiles and greater adjutant storks. Other popular enclosures include huge areas for the large tiger population, and there are elephants that sometimes take part in activities such as painting. You’ll also find a walk-through area with macaques and deer, and a huge aviary.
Cambodia’s wildlife is usually very difficult to spot, as larger mammals inhabit remote areas of the country. Phnom Tamao is the perfect place to discover more about the incredible variety of animals in Cambodia. If you don’t like zoos, you might not like this wildlife sanctuary, but remember that these animals have been rescued from traffickers and poachers and need a home. Visitors that come here will be doing their own small bit to help in the protection and survival of Cambodia’s varied and wonderful wildlife.
Free the Bears operates a Bear Keeper for a Day program to allow students and adults with a genuine interest in wildlife a better understanding of the Asian black bear and Malayan sun bear. Participants have no contact with the bears, but learn the ins-and-outs of caring for the nearly 90 bears being looked after here.
Betelnut Jeep Tours offers day trips here, departing at 10am on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, including entry, a guided tour, lunch and a chance to meet some of the residents.