Rangers in eastern Cambodia’s Seima Protected Forest have reported seizing 32 animals in three separate busts over the past week, including more than a dozen endangered tortoises.
As well as the 13 elongated tortoises, the Seima ranger team encountered 14 common palm civets, a giant Asian pond turtle, a monitor lizard and three snakes.
The Seima ranger team is the front line arm of a joint effort to protect the forest between the Forestry Administration and the NGO Wildlife Conservation Society, with backing from USAID’s Supporting Forests and Diversity Project.
“USAID fully supports the good work of the forest rangers in the Eastern Plains Landscape to reduce the pervasive wildlife poaching,” said USAID’s mission director in Cambodia, Rebecca Black.
The 3,000-square-kilometre Seima Protected Forest is one of Cambodia’s most biologically diverse areas, making it a hotbed for poaching. As well as its extensive range of flora and fauna, it is also home to almost 4,000 people, the majority belonging to the Bunong ethnic minority. It was officially elevated to Protected Forest status in 2009.