Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Leopard numbers dwindling, study finds

Leopard numbers dwindling, study finds

A leopard walks through a section of Mondulkiri Protected Forest in the Kingdom’s Eastern Plains in 2009. WWF
A leopard walks through a section of Mondulkiri Protected Forest in the Kingdom’s Eastern Plains in 2009. WWF

Leopard numbers dwindling, study finds

Indochinese leopards should be classified as endangered, according to a new report that highlights the dwindling numbers of the species in Cambodia and Southeast Asia.

The study, published in Biological Conservation earlier this week, estimated a regional population of between 973 and 2,503 of the mammals.

Cambodia is thought to have just 132 leopards, with between 18 and 55 of those adults believed capable of breeding.

In Mondulkiri province the leopard, which is listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, saw a 70 per cent decline between 2009 and 2014. Only two leopards have been detected in Preah Vihear province in the past three years.

“Poaching for the wildlife trade was likely the main reason for the decline of leopard numbers,” the report noted. “Recently interviewed poachers . . . received $55–$60 per [kilogram] of leopard bones from Vietnamese traders.

“Unless more effective protection is provided, poaching might soon lead to the extirpation of the leopard population in Eastern Plains Landscape, similar to that recently observed for tiger.”

Wildlife Alliance founder Suwanna Gauntlett said there had been no sign of the leopard in the southwest Cardamom Mountains for more than a decade: “Leopards have mostly disappeared from protected areas in Cambodia due to weak law enforcement and heavy poaching.”

Ministry of Environment spokesman Sao Sopheap said the drop in numbers was concerning, adding that the ministry was training more rangers to improve capacity and law enforcement.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all