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Natural seasonal waterholes (trapeang in Khmer) are an important feature of the deciduous dipterocarp forests of eastern Cambodia and are utilised by a number of globally threatened species of large ungulates and waterbirds. However at the end of the dry-season (April) only a small proportion of waterholes retain water. In 2011, we artificially deepened six waterholes in the core area of Mondulkiri Protected Forest, eastern Cambodia, removing 3m3 to 24m3 of earth (mean 16.5m3) from each.Â Surveys prior to deepening demonstrated that only one of these waterholes, and 10% of all waterholes surveyed in the study area (n=50), held water at the end of the dry-season.Â Following modification five of the six deepened waterholes (83%) held water at the end of the subsequent dry-season. From four camera traps over 448 trap-nights, 23 species including two globally threatened large ungulates, Banteng Bos javanicus and Eldâ€™s Deer Rucervus eldii, and two Critically Endangered Ibises (Giant Thaumatibis gigantea and White-shouldered Ibis Pseudibis davisoni), were photographed foraging and drinking at the deepened waterholes between March and June 2012.Â Our results suggest that artificial deepening of natural waterholes does not cause damage, and makes these waterholes suitable for use throughout the dry-season.Â In the face of changing climate it is suggested that management plans should have a programme for the survey and determination of the status of waterholes every year and improve the use of water resources by artificial deepening.Â
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