A group of animals, including a family of gibbons, currently living at Takeo province’s Phnom Tamao Zoo are set to be transferred to Siem Reap’s Banteay Srei district in a bid to boost eco-tourism.
The animals will be moved to the Khun Ream rosewood farm – a reforestation site for tourists to plant rosewood saplings – to populate a nearly 1,900-hectare site, which will be used to attract additional guests, according to a post on the Forestry Administration’s Facebook page.
Mong Bunlim, director of Banteay Srei’s Forestry Administration office, confirmed the move yesterday, saying the farm currently had a few animals but that they were scattered across a broad area of jungle.
The administration would build fencing to keep the newly transferred animals, which along with the gibbons include sambar and red muntjacs types of deer indigenous to Southeast Asia within the farm, he added.
“We want to bring one family of gibbons, two sambars, and some red muntjacs, which are plentiful at Phnom Tamao,” Bunlim said.
Bunlim added that the project would cost about $100,000, which will largely go towards the building of a 13-kilometre canal and fencing around the site to prevent nearby villagers from encroaching on the land.
The plan was discussed on Friday with Wildlife Alliance, which is involved in the care of animals at Phnom Tamao, according to the Facebook post.
Nick Marx, the NGO’s director for wildlife rescue, could not be reached for comment.
The government’s Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre rehabilitates rescued animals in cooperation with Wildlife Alliance. Nhek Rattanapich, the centre’s director, said he welcomed the project as it would give the centre a chance to re-introduce animals into the wild, adding that they would use an onsite location to acclimatise the animals before release.
“We have a lot of animals here at the rescue centre. But we want to release some into the wild since it is good and appropriate for them to reproduce,” he said.
Separately, Wildlife Alliance yesterday released statistics concerning its activities in 2016. It said that about 3,500 rescued animals were released by the NGO into the wild, whereas 3,200 animals were saved by its Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team, responding to 1,400 tip-offs. The group also said it removed more than 13,500 hunting snares across 2 million hectares of protected forests in the Southern Cardamom area.