Deep in the Southern Cardamom Mountains, former loggers and poachers have assumed new roles as protective rangers and ecotourism guides. Can their efforts help preserve a vast stretch of wilderness?
Photographs and Text by Francesco Lastrucci
- Dec. 20, 2021, 5:00 a.m. ET
At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with travel restrictions in place worldwide, we launched a new series — The World Through a Lens — in which photojournalists help transport you, virtually, to some of our planet’s most compelling places. This week, Francesco Lastrucci shares a collection of images from southwest Cambodia.
We were seated near a lush river in the Southern Cardamom Mountains, huddled over a lunch of chicken and rice, when the tip came in via text message: Someone had passed along the location of a poaching camp.
Within minutes, the entire group — including Darian Thackwell, the head ranger, and four of his armed team members — was rushing upstream. Eventually we hid our boat between a maze of mangroves and continued by foot, trudging our way as silently as possible through the thick vegetation.