The government is proposing to de-list the Siamese crocodile as a highly endangered species in a bid to help crocodile farmers reach new markets.
Because the Siamese crocodile is listed as an Appendix I animal, which means it is a threatened species under the international wildlife protection treaty CITES, or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, it is banned from export.
Ty Sokun, secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and chairman of the CITES Management Authority of Cambodia, said yesterday that the government would attempt to list the reptile under Appendix II, making it possible for farmers to export them.
“If we succeed, it would greatly benefit all Cambodian people, and especially people in the region,” Sokun said.
“By doing this, we will show that we are improving farming management to meet CITES’ criteria and restoring [populations] of wild crocodile.”
Sokun added that crocodile farming is located mostly in the provinces of Siem Reap, Battambang, and Kampong Thom.
According to Soun Phalla, Technical Officer at CITES, wild crocodiles must be protected “because in Vietnam and Thailand the wild crocodile is already extinct”.
But he noted that many non-wild, farmer-bred crocodiles exist in Cambodia.
“Our government is trying to help farmers access more markets, so that they can export more.”
According to CITES, Appendix I species are considered to be threatened with extinction and can only be imported and exported for non-commercial reasons, like scientific research.
In April, crocodile farmers in Siem Reap said they reached a deal to export 1,000 crocodile skins to France, having obtained a licence from CITES.