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Animals rescued in bust

Wild snakes and a soft-shelled turtle were found among nearly 40 kilogrammes worth of wild animals seized in Kampong Cham province’s Ponhea Krek district, after a police chase on Sunday.

Provincial forestry administration officials and military police are now searching for two suspects  who are believed to have been smuggling the animals, found in the district’s Krek commune.

The animals were seized after police chased down a Toyota Camry, said Norng Rany, deputy chief of the Dambae district Forestry Administration.

The driver of the car and a woman, who is alleged to have purchased the animals, escaped arrest. It is thought that the animals were being taken to Vietnam to be sold.

“The two suspects abandoned the car and the wild animals,” Norng Rany said yesterday.  

“We are looking for them now, ” he added.

Norng Rany said the animals were alive and in good health, even after being hidden in three rice sacks for days.

The animals have have now been sent to the provincial forestry administration for safekeeping, he said.

The forestry administration said they had asked local NGO Wildlife Alliance in Phnom Penh to assist in the maintenance of the creatures.

Srun Bunthoeun, a staff member at WA, said they are conducting medical examinations to determine, in further detail, the state of their health.

He added that the animals will be sent to Phnom Tamao Zoo in the near future.

Norng Rany said that it was difficult to crackdown on illegal animal trafficking because it was impossible to check all vehicles suspected of smuggling, unless they have a clear tip-off.

According to the latest report produced by the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network, covering July to September last year, 49 cases of animal smuggling involving 284 animals were handled with the cooperation of the Forestry Administration, police, military police and prosecutors.

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