Organized by The Wildlife Alliance and the Cambodian Fishing Cat Project, Eat Khmer Flavour, Not Khmer Wildlife highlighted the threats facing rare wild animals by poachers and snares. The issue was brought to life through a photo exhibition by the Capture Project, depicting models in the place of animals caught in traps.

Also on display was a selection of paintings by pre-eminent Cambodian artist Chhan Dina, as well as a giant sculpture, crafted from snares, of a baby elephant rescued from a trap by Wildlife Alliance. Called Chhouk, the elephant was rescued by Wildlife Alliance and the Forestry Administration and now lives at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre with the help of a custom-made prosthetic foot.

The focus of the exhibition was “to show to Cambodian people the consequences of eating wildlife meat,” said Dou Pothlimata, aka Apple Love, the project’s principal artist. “People are not aware that so many animals die or are injured from snares set in our forests.”

Cambodian celebrity chef Mr. Luu Meng had been behind the campaign since its conception: “Wild meat is nothing special, has no powers and can even be dangerous for health,” Luu says. “Khmer cuisine is full of amazing flavors, there is no need to add anything “exotic” to it. We’re continually searching for new ingredients, especially herbs- in Cambodia, we have over 400 types of herbs.”

Guests were invited to nibble on delicious canapés as they browsed the art and watched two short documentaries: the debut of The Unforgettable Wilderness of Cambodia, by intrepid wildlife photographer Senglim Suy, and a piece by the Cambodian Fishing Cat Project, following their journey deep into the mangroves of Koh Kong province in search of the Kla Trey (fishing cat).

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