Authorities in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district seized more than 200 illegally poached birds yesterday, officers there said.
Local Forestry Administration officials discovered the wildlife haul in Mongkol Borei’s Phnom Touch commune, where they found and confiscated a total of 216 Malay Night Herons and watercocks, according to Ouk Hokthavorrak, a Forestry Administration official in charge of Mongkol Borei and two other districts.
“We got information from the locals and cracked down. Most [of the birds] were the Malay Night Herons, with long beaks. Eleven of the birds were alive, and the rest were dead,” he said.
Poachers commonly use fishing nets and poison to capture and kill the birds, which are typically found in the forest or in rice paddies and ponds, Hokthavorrak added. No one was arrested over yesterday’s haul.
“They escaped when they saw the authorities’ forces. No one was at the site to take responsibility,” he said.
The dead birds were brought to the Banteay Meanchey provincial Forestry Administration office to be incinerated. Those that were still alive were released into the wild.
Both watercocks and Malay Night Herons have wide ranges across Asia. Population trends for the night heron are not known, though the population of watercocks is believed to be decreasing.
However, neither is considered vulnerable by IUCN.