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Jolie commits to Cambodia wildlife

Jolie fell in love with Cambodia while shooting
Jolie fell in love with Cambodia while shooting "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider."

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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (Reuters) -- Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has agreed to pay $5 million over the next 15 years to set up a wildlife sanctuary in a former Khmer Rouge-controlled area of Cambodia, a senior charity official has said.

Jolie, who fell in love with the war-scarred southeast Asian nation while filming the action movie "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," has already paid a first instalment of $350,000 to get the ball rolling, Mounh Sarath, head of Cambodian Vision in Development, told Reuters.

The project aims to protect more than 20,000 hectares (49,500 acres) of forest in northwest Cambodia, which five years ago was still controlled by remnants of the brutal ultra-communist Khmer Rouge, responsible for the genocide of the "Killing Fields."

The money would also go towards helping war veterans and amputees rebuild their lives, the charity said.

"This is a great opportunity for us to restore deforested areas and protect wildlife to ensure local communities will not destroy them," Mounh Sarath said on Friday.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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