A member of the Bunong ethnic minority group in Mondulkiri province is being detained for questioning for allegedly shooting dead a gaur in the protected Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary.
Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said a man from Keo Seima district’s Memang commune was arrested at his home in the sanctuary by commune police and rangers.
He said police were on the hunt for the suspect’s father-in-law, who was also involved in the poaching.
During the raid at their home on Saturday, the authorities confiscated as evidence an AK-47 assault rifle along with nine bullets, 30kg of gaur meat, one pot of cooked gaur meat and two home-made airguns.
Provincial Department of Environment director Keo Sopheak could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
Provincial Forestry Administration director Um Van Sopheak said he was not fully aware of the case and was checking with his officials for more details, while Pheaktra could not provide exact figures for the gaur population in the Kingdom.
“Over the last few years, we have noticed the increasing number of gaurs in protected natural areas in Cambodia,” he said.
He said gaurs are present in the Cardamom Mountains, Prey Lang forest and the Kingdom’s northeast.
Rangers, he said, had been deployed to protect and preserve natural resources and biodiversity in national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and other conservation zones.
Pheaktra said the authorities will put more effort into combating illegal poaching and bringing the culprits to justice.