Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - From Russia to the forests of Mondulkiri, with love

From Russia to the forests of Mondulkiri, with love

From Russia to the forests of Mondulkiri, with love


Maggie, fresh from the freezing cold of the Russian winter, will help local officials track endangered Indochinese tigers.

Photo by:


Maggie, a German Wirehaired Pointer, recently arrived in Cambodia to track tigers.

WITH Valentine's Day 2009 already a distant memory, single men in Cambodia might be interested in meeting Maggie: an intelligent Russian female, a quick learner with a fantastic nose, who is known by those who meet her as being a very loyal companion.

A German Wirehaired Pointer, Maggie has undergone a training program to help her track endangered Indochinese tigers at Mondulkiri province's Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area, a site managed jointly by the Forestry Administration and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

With experience tracking tigers in Russia and training from Linda Kerley, a Russian consultant to WCS, Maggie will be expected to sniff up to 3,000 square kilometres of nature reserve for droppings of the endangered cat, which has not been spotted in the area since 2007.

"Maggie was used for scent training in Russia and will be able to match the scent of the scats with the Indochinese tiger," said Hannah O'Kelly, a WCS wildlife monitoring adviser.

"The droppings found by Maggie will be sent away for analysis, which will indicate how many tigers there are in the province. The analysis will provide the number of tigers and their health and habits just by collecting the scats."

The "tiger detection dog" project is funded by WCS and Panthera, a global wild cat conservation group, as part of the regional "Tigers Forever" initiative, which has invested US$30,000 to bring Maggie and another pooch to work in Cambodia for a year.

But having just arrived from Russia's frosty climate, Maggie is still struggling with Cambodia's humid weather.

"We have been trying to get Maggie acclimatised to the heat," O'Kelly said.

"We previously conducted some research to ensure she would be comfortable ... but we definitely don't want to rush her into the work."

O'Kelly said most of the work would be restricted to the dry season, and that they were hopeful of confirming local sightings of the animal.

"We'll be working right up to the wet season and then continuing on until the end of next year's dry season," she said.

"We're hopeful of finding some traces of these tigers. We wouldn't be doing this if we weren't at least hopeful."


  • 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