A proposed power transmission line to be constructed at the edge of the Tonle Sap Floodplain Protected Landscape as early as next year will pose a new threat to a critically endangered bird species known as the Bengal Florican, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
In a press release issued on Friday, the NGO says plans by state-owned Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) for a power line to be built close to the protected landscape may cause the approximately 432 Bengal Floricans in the country – out of a global population of fewer than 800 – to further dwindle.
“Power transmission lines are a particular problem for large, slow-flying birds that cannot manoeuvre easily, such as bustards,” it reads. “Bustards, which include the Bengal Florican, are among the most likely birds to collide with overhead lines, due to having a narrow binocular view when looking ahead.”
The power line is expected to run from Kampong Cham to Siem Reap, and from Siem Reap to Battambang, according to WCS Cambodia’s senior technical adviser, Simon Mahood.
“Re-routing the power line in areas where it would otherwise go close to the sites where the Bengal Floricans breed is the most effective way to prevent or reduce the chance of Bengal Floricans being killed by flying into the power line,” he said.
Ministry of Energy spokesman Tun Lean and an EdC spokesperson could not be reached for comment yesterday. Ministry of Environment spokesman Sao Sopheap, meanwhile, said the ministries “will have to work together” to address the problem.
“[The ministry is] still working on this and finding out what exactly is going on,” he said. “If [the construction] is seriously affecting the wildlife, we will have to talk to the concerned government ministry. ”Separately, more than 17 kilograms of endangered monkey meat were seized during a raid conducted by the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) in Stung Treng’s Sesan district on Thursday.
According to Theng Kunchay, a Forestry Administration official and a member of the WRRT, 17.5 kilograms of illegal meat from endangered Douc Langurs were found in an informal restaurant owned by a 47-year-old man identified as Sok An.
“The owner is a disabled person and a former soldier. He was questioned and fined $400 for keeping the monkey meat illegally. The meat is dry and fresh,” Kunchay said, adding that authorities had incinerated the meat after confiscating it.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY Joey Chua Xue Ting