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Clouded leopard rescued in Bokor park dies

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Clouded leopard in surgery at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre after being rescued from a snare on July 16. Wildlife Alliance

Clouded leopard rescued in Bokor park dies

A young male clouded leopard that was released from captivity last week in Bokor National Park in Kampot’s Chhouk district has died despite veterinarian’s efforts to save him.

Ministry of Environment officials called on the public to stop snaring and trapping wild animals and to help conserve all endangered species.

The NGO Wildlife Alliance said in a press release The Post obtained on July 24 that the clouded leopard was freed from captors last week and rescued by local police, but no one was certain how long it had been trapped for.

They did not specify in their press release when the clouded leopard actually died, and Claire Baker-Munton, Wildlife Alliance communications officer, did not respond to The Post’s questions on July 25.

The press release said the captors tied the clouded leopard’s legs, head and jaws for two days, before local police heard about the cat and intervened. By that time, the clouded leopard had likely not been able to eat or drink for a week or more.

On 16 July, Wildlife Alliance heard about the clouded leopard and went to help the animal.

“The clouded leopard was very weak and very frightened,” Nick Marx, Director of Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Rescue and Care said in the press release.

The clouded leopard was transported to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre where he received professional veterinarian care.

“The animal was weak, wounded and dehydrated due to being without food and water for so long,” Marx added.

Snared animals require immediate treatment, said Marx. While every effort was made to save the clouded leopard, it just wasn’t possible due to the animal’s weakened state.

The death of this clouded leopard is a big loss for a species whose numbers are decreasing worldwide, he said.

Neth Pheaktra, secretary of state and spokesman for the Ministry of Environment, told The Post on July 25 that “this is a tragic loss of a rare species. This species of clouded leopard has recently been sighted in some protected areas.”

He said to protect the clouded leopards his ministry will strengthen law enforcement patrols and remove snares from protected areas because they are hidden killers that kill wildlife indiscriminately.

In the last 18 months – from January 2020 to June 2021 – more than 70,000 snares have been removed from protected areas.

Pheaktra said the ministry is trying to educate people to stop snaring and hunting wildlife and that nearly 1,000 guns used for hunting had been confiscated from January 2020 to June 2021 as well.

“Eating wild animals and belief in using wildlife for tonics and medicines will lead to more pressure on wildlife through hunting and snaring,” he said.

“To prevent further killing of wildlife, [we] call on all people to stop eating wildlife and to protect all wildlife. If there is any sale or trafficking of wild animals, please report it to the authorities,” Pheaktra said.

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