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Cambodia lacks funds for wildlife network

Cambodia lacks funds for wildlife network

AN increase in the number of wildlife seizures in Southeast Asia attests to the success of the region's collaborative approach to stamping out the black market wildlife trade, according to a press release from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network (Asean-WEN).

Cambodia, however, is still largely left out of this approach, as it lacks the funding to fully participate in the anti-wildlife trafficking group.

Asean-WEN, of which Cambodia is a member, is a network of law enforcement agencies seeking to improve communication between various government authorities in the 10-member bloc.

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Suon Sovann, deputy chief of the Forest Crime Monitoring and Reporting Unit at the Foresty Administration, told the Post on Monday:

"Wildlife crime is not a Cambodian issue. It's a global issue. We need funds so we can share information about wildlife crime."

In order to abolish the illegal wildlife trade, governments have to address both the supply and demand sides. This involves many different branches of government in multiple countries, said Mark Gately, the country program director at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

"Improved communications between Southeast Asian countries means that if reports are made of wildlife leaving Cambodia illegally, authorities in the neighboring countries can be alerted," a Wildlife Alliance spokesperson said Monday.

"At present, animals can be rescued within Cambodia, but once they cross the border, nothing can be done."

Teak Seng, country director of the the global conservation group WWF, said:  "One specific country cannot be effective at curtailing wildlife trade. It requires international cooperation." 

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