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Cambodian Conservationist Looks to Save Fish

Chouly Ou, a conservationist and biologist, hopes to use her education to save the fish of the Mekong river. Her plan is to pursue a PhD to gain technical knowledge on fish population modeling.

“I plan to develop a model for sustainable management of the fish population in the Mekong river, the largest and most important river in Cambodia,” Chouly Ou said in an interview with VOA Khmer.

Chouly Ou was born and raised in Battambang province. After finishing high school, in 1999, she pursued an undergraduate degree in biology at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

After graduating in 2003, she was given a scholarship to study for a master’s in natural resources management, at the Asian Institute of Technology, in Thailand. High marks earned her a fellowship at Roskilde University, Denmark, in 2005.

She returned to the Royal University, in 2006, this time as a lecturer at the department of environmental science.

She worked for a conservation organization, Birdlife International, monitoring the Biodiversity Conservation Corridor Initiative. This allowed her to conduct fieldwork in forest areas like the Cardamom mountains and the eastern plains of Mondulkiri province.

She is now working for a PhD on fish population modeling.

“I believe that the fish population modeling I aim to develop will serve as a guide for sustainable management of fishery resources in the country,” she said.

Later this month, the conservationist will travel to Cambridge, Mass., to attend a Fulbright Enrichment Science and Technology Seminar.

She will be among the first Cambodian students to pursue a PhD with Fulbright funding.

“Participating in the seminar, I will learn about applied sciences, micro-enterprises and research and development laboratories,” she said.

Before attending the seminar, she plans to spend one week visiting the US capital and New York City, she said.