|Sam Veasna. Photo courtesy
SVC manages wildlife viewing trips with exclusive access to Wildlife Conservation Society sites across Cambodia. We were registered as a local NGO with the Ministry of Interior in 2006. Our goal is to provide an alternative sustainable livelihood from ecotourism for the local communities at the sites that WCS prioritises for conservation. In return for the income and employment received they are asked to sign no hunting and land use agreements, which are monitored by Ministries of Environment and Forestry patrol teams advised by WCS.
We are a Non-Profit Organisation. Any profit from providing ecotourism services in invested into local communtiy development in return for good environmental stewardship. We believe that it is necessary to provide alternative livelihoods in order to achieve sustainable conservation. By choosing to see Cambodia's spectacular wildlife with us you are giving local communities those alternatives.
Sam Veasna was a pioneering Cambodian naturalist who tragically died of malaria in 1999 aged 33 while surveying the Northern Plains of Cambodia for the now extinct Kouprey. During his short life he was responsible for discovering and cataloging many of the most important sites for consevation in Northern Cambodia, including the discovery of large numbers of Sarus Crane at Ang Trapaeng Thmor. The Sam Veasna Center was set up in his memory to promote conservation throughout Cambodia and find ways to continue his work protecting the endangered species of the country.
SVC currently has 8 English speaking guides expert in finding Cambodia's special birds and highly knowledgeable about our sites. Five are also licensed temple guides. We are always training new recruits through our Guide Training program.
SVC aims to offer a professional service ensuring what we hope will be an amazing experience for our customers in return for a fee. Any surplus that SVC makes from eco-tourism contributes to the conservation costs at the sites we visit.
Johnny is the Director of SVC, appointed in August 2012 having been a Bird Guide since 2009 and led the Guide Training Program during 2011 and 2012. Prior to joining SVC Johnny was a director at the International Language School in Siem Reap, having learnt English in the refugee camps along the Thai border between 1979 and the early 1990s. Captured by the remnant Khmer Rouge he was forced to live off the wildlife in the forest, until 1996 when the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders were allowed into internal exile and Johnny was free to walk the 90km through heavily-mined forest back to his family in Battambang. He was married in 2005 and has two children, a boy and a girl.
San Sikol (Srun) has worked as a bird guide for SVC for 5 years. Srun is a natural guide and his enthusiasm for birding is infectious. He started training to become a Bird Guide in April 2010 and started guiding SVC clients in November 2010, proving to be a highly capable leader. In February, 2011 he joined the SVC annual Super Tour for nearly two weeks and learned much from Howie Nelson and the clients. Recently Srun has taken over the running of Guide Training at SVC, and has led many groups to our sites around Cambodia. He lives in Siem Reap with his family close to SVC office.
Sophoan, or So, is a Senior Bird Guide and has worked for SVC since 2006. She has led tours for companies including Albatros, Zoothera and Bird Tour Asia as well as for many individual birders from all over the world. A dedicated birder Sophoan is always keen to get out and see more birds and has visited Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia in pursuit of new species. She is also a qualified temple tour guide for the many cultural wonders of the Angkor area.
She lives with her family in Siem Reap.
Nara is a Senior Bird Guide. He joined SVC in 2007 and has led many birding groups, including tours for BirdQuest, Vent and Avifauna along with many individual birders. He is also a driver. He loves exploring new things, meeting people and taking them to see his nature and culture. He will do his best to find specific birds that his clients want to see. Nara is also excellent at picking up birds on call.
Nara was born to a farmer family with 6 children to the east of Siem Reap and left in 1998 to find work and study English. Soon he managed to get a job as a driver taking tourists around the Angkor area before joining SVC.
Nara lives with his wife and their young sons in Siem Reap.
Sang Mony has always loved wildlife and is a natural birder. A very experienced SVC bird guide Mony previously worked in high end hospitality, including at the Raffles Grand and Sokha Hotels. He came to SVC in 2006, right from the start but also took the chance to work for Flora and Fauna International in the Cardomom Mountains. Previous experience in top end hospitality means that guests always receive five-star treatment.
The ability to work in conservation through ecotourism with SVC proved a real eye-opener for Mony. He is very dedicated to his work that helps to preserve Cambodia’s rare species and wild places, and in helping local communities understand that conservation and ecotourism benefits both the community and the whole country. He's also seen well over 400 species in Cambodia!
Art is the “northern buffalo” of the team, the term used for strength in Cambodia. He possesses an excellent knowledge of Cambodian birds and has been a Bird Guide with SVC since 2008. Art is also a cycling guide and official temple guide in Siem Reap and has taken his bike around the whole of northern Cambodia. He wasn’t sure about birds to start with, but when he began to learn about them he became hooked! He is proud of the fact that he can lead tourists to see the birds and culture of Cambodia and to be involved with projects conserving wildlife through local communities.
Tharath has worked for SVC as an English-speaking Bird Guide since completing the in-house Bird Identification Skills and Logistics in 2008. Since then he has taken many visitors to see the birds of Cambodia. Tharath is also a qualified Angkor and Siem Reap area guide having completed the Tour Guide training course in English. He is the “southern buffalo”, having previously lived in Angdong Kraloeng and worked in Seima Protected Forest.
He joined SVC because of his desire to support our conservation projects linked to village development, and enjoys helping to preserve wildlife and wild places in Cambodia.
Mardy Sean is 30 years old and has worked for the Sam Center in the role of Bird Guide since 2010, taking people to see birds of Cambodia all around the country.
Siem Reap is Mardy's home town, the city of Angkor history and civilization, and is where he still lives. Previous experience working in a five-star resort ensures you will receive the best service during your trip. Having received a degree from Build Bright University his love of nature encouraged him to train at SVC. In particular a sighting of White-throated Kingfisher fired his love of wildlife, and his Cambodian list is rapidly approaching 400 species.
Chea is a Bird Guide and has been with SVC since 2007. He thoroughly enjoys being able to take tourists in to the beautiful parts of Cambodia and show them amazing birds like the Giant Ibis. He is always keen to get out and see more birds whenever he gets the opportunity. His Cambodia list is just over 400 species. Chea is thankful for the experience and knowledge that he has gained as part of the SVC family, especially for the chance to meet many people from all over the world.
Chen Sophal or Naran as he likes to be known is 30 years old and before joining SVC was a Siem Reap tuk-tuk driver. Naran is one of SVC's Bird Guides. He completed the SVC training course in 2011 and thoroughly enjoys guiding tourists to see Cambodian birds. He dreams of becoming a bird photographer but just needs the camera! Naran now wishes to let everyone know how much fun you can have through birdwatching.
An always- Khmer-smiling Kunthea is a fresh talented bird guide participated with SVC in 2012, completed a hardcore training course from SVC in the same year; thoroughly enjoy guiding tourists to see Cambodian birds. She is married with 2 kids – a boy and a girl who start to bird watch with their parents at weekends. She has been taking toutists out to see birds across Cambodia not less than hundreds of times since she has worked for SVC. Her dream is to show all Cambodian species to the world and travel to see birds as many as she can all over the world.
| Sam Veasna Center
in Siem Reap
SVC Office Siem Reap
Address; #0552, Group 12, Wat Bo, Siem Reap. Cambodia. PO Box 93045
Mobile telephone; +855 92 55 44 73 (local 012 55 44 73) week days and weekends
Office telephone; +855 63 963710 (local 063 963710) weekdays 0800 - 1730
Directions in Siem Reap; Off Watbo Road by Angkor Village Hotel, 250 metres on RHS.