Eight kilometres from the Cambodian coastal town of Kampot, the surreal and tranquil Teuk Chhou Zoo sits in a idyllic valley at the fringe of Bokor National Park, where the Elephant mountains meet the plains of the Kampot River. The private zoo was realised in 1999 by His Excellency Senator Nhim Vanda, still the owner today. Over the years lack of finance and public interest rendered the zoo dilapidated, animal enclosures deteriorated and became unliveable, the animals were underfed and seriously neglected. Consequently many were malnourished and emaciated, culminating in sickness, depression and death.
After visiting the zoo in 2011 Rory and Melita Hunter, an Australian couple living in Cambodia pledged to do what they could to save the zoo's dying residents. Collaborating with Nhim Vanda and utilising the animal care skills of Nick Marx of the Wildlife Alliance, the situation was temporarily reversed and many of the animals were saved.
From this came Footprints, an NGO dedicating itself to the management and transformation of the zoo. A lease was signed with Nhim Vanda and plans for the future were slowly moving toward a "Teuk Chhou Wildlife & Educational Park".
In early 2013 the deal between Nhim Vanda and Footprints was abruptly broken over an unknown dispute and the future of the animals is uncertain once again.