One of three men stopped for allegedly poaching a sambar deer in Stung Treng last week has been charged with illegal hunting and unlawful possession of a weapon.
Police intercepted the three suspects on Friday, while they were transporting the dead sambar from a nearby forest to Thma Keo commune in Siem Pang district on a motorbike, according to district police chief Var Sophan.
“They used a home-made rifle to shoot a young sambar weighing more than 22 kilograms. Two were arrested and one managed to escape,” Sophan said yesterday.
The two suspects in custody, Chan Pov, 32, and Dam Kang Teng, 22, were handed over to the Forestry Administration and sent to court on Saturday. Pov, who allegedly shot the animal, was charged. Teng, who said he was only a broker, paid a fine and was released. Police were still hunting for the third man yesterday.
Separately, rangers from Wildlife Alliance temporarily detained a man for catching and mutilating a crested serpent eagle in Koh Kong’s Southern Cardamoms earlier this month, the NGO revealed in a Facebook post on Saturday. Though the bird was rescued, it died four hours later.
“The offender confessed that he clipped off the eagle’s beak, claws, and wings to prevent it from escaping,” the post said.
Wildlife Alliance warned the poacher to not offend again but – lacking the authority to impose fines – had to release him unpunished. No Forestry Administration officials were nearby, the rangers said.
Poaching has been on the uptick across the country recently because of the approaching Khmer New Year and the ongoing crackdown on illegal loggers, said Wildlife Conservation Society country director Ross Sinclair.
“There’s been a noticeable increase . . . illegal gangs switched from illegal timber to poaching,” said Sinclair, speaking about the country’s east and north. “Any area where the [new anti-logging] task force is cracking down, poaching is increasing . . . targeting animals that are already very rare.”
Kim Spreang, the head of terrestrial protected areas at the Ministry of Environment, said that many people, especially small-time forestry offenders, engaged in both logging and poaching at the same time.