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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Elephant poaching continues

Elephant poaching continues



wo wild elephants have been confirmed killed by poachers in the Phnom Samkos Wildlife

Sanctuary, according to an official with the Pursat Department of Environment (DoE).

Pursat Department of Environment staff pose with the remains of an elephant

killed August 4.

Rangers in Anlong Reap village, about 30 kms from the Thai-Cambodian border, heard

gunfire and elephant screams on Aug 4. Two days later they discovered the carcasses

of one male and one female elephant which had been stripped of tusks, tails and the

male elephant's penis, said Ben Hammond, Environment Advisor to Pursat's DoE, who

investigated the incident.

The animals' remains were surrounded by six cable and noose traps that are used to

catch tigers which would be drawn to the site by the scent of the rotting flesh.

The elephant slaughter highlights a growing problem for the Kingdom's wildlife, one

which will be difficult to combat.

"According to local rangers, there is now more hunting, more organized hunting

and more elephants and tigers being killed in the Cardamom Mountains than ever before,"

said Hammond. "If something is not done to combat this hunting, in ten years

time these animals will join the rhinoceros and the khting vor-present in Cambodian

legend but as good as extinct in the wild."

A report on ranger patrol activity in the Phnom Samkos area submitted to the Ministry

of Environment and seen by the Post says that there are unconfirmed reports of two

other elephants killed this wet season, as well as reports of five unconfirmed tiger

kills and one confirmed kill. The tiger bones and skin were reportedly sold in Pramaoy

village in Veal Veng district for $5,000 cash.

Rangers in the area say they are aware of at least two groups of poachers wearing

Military Police uniforms who are all armed with AK-47s and grenades. Some are known

to carry 82mm mortar rounds that are used to set up booby traps to kill wildlife.

In a related development, a Bilateral Conference for the Conservation of Elephants

in Cambodia and Vietnam was held in Danang Sept 14 -15. Nine Cambodian officials

from the Ministries of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries and Environment participated.

The event, hosted by Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and

Fauna & Flora International (FFI), resulted in an agreement by Cambodian and

Vietnamese officials to cooperate jointly to protect the elephant populations in

Mondolkiri province and adjacent areas in Vietnam.



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