The Central Cardamoms Protected Forest (ឧទ្យានជាតិជួរភ្នំក្រវាញកណ្ដាល, CCPF) encompasses three of Southeast Asia’s most threatened ecosystems: lowland evergreen forests, riparian forests and wetlands. The rangers and military police who protect this vast 4013 sq km area from illegal hunting and logging are based at a few ranger stations, including one in Thma Bang.
The nearby Areng Valley, some of whose inhabitants belong to the Khmer Daeum minority community, is home to Asian elephants and the dragonfish (Asian arowana), which is almost extinct in the wild. It also has the world’s second-largest population of critically endangered wild Siamese crocodiles. These toothy critters can grow up to 3.5m long, but don’t eat people, preferring to dine on fish, snakes, frogs and small mammals.