Four unidentified men were arrested yesterday for allegedly killing an endangered and pregnant gaur – a species of wild bovine – in a protected wildlife reserve in Mondulkiri province, provincial officials said.
After villagers discovered the carcass on Wednesday, provincial authorities along with conservationists in charge of feeding the animal were alerted.
Hean Sakhorn, deputy chief of the province’s department of environment, declined to name the four implicated men.
“[The accused] were wildlife hunters and arrested for hunting and killing” in a protected wildlife zone in Keo Seima district, he told the Post yesterday.
The animal’s discovery was quickly followed by a joint investigation led by district police and the provincial department of environment, said Sao Sarin, a Keo Seima district police officer.
“When we found [the gaur], all that remained on site were the bones, head and legs,” Sarin said.
The four accused men are expected to be charged by Mondulkiri’s provincial court today.
Diminishing populations of hoofed animals in Southeast Asia have hit epidemic proportions, according to a report published by the conservation group WWF.
The report went on to say that Cambodia has also been hit hard, with one of its indigenous hoofed species, the banteng, experiencing a 90 per cent drop in its numbers since the 1960s.
Endangered animals are frequently found for sale in local markets, a situation that Sok Ratha, coordinator for Adhoc’s Mondulkiri office, characterised as being extremely worrying.
If hunting of endangered wildlife continues at this rate, “there will be no life in this province in the future”, Sok told the Post yesterday.