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‘DNA soon to reveal identities of poachers’

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Cheng Chanthy heals in hospital after being injured in a gunfire exchange. MONDULKIRI PROVINCIAL DEPARTMENT oF ENVIRONMENT

‘DNA soon to reveal identities of poachers’

Mondulkiri provincial environment department director Keo Sopheak has said that DNA testing will soon reveal the identities of poachers who exchanged gunfire with environmental rangers, injuring one, at Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary last Wednesday.

“Our environment department is cooperating with experts and relevant NGOs to collect evidence at the crime scene for DNA testing. We will then be able to easily identify the suspects,” Sopheak said.

Sopheak added that they had gathered other evidence such as tails of the Banteng endangered wild cow, ammunition and other equipment used in the illegal hunting of wildlife.

At around 3:30am last Wednesday, gunfire was exchanged between Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary environmental rangers and poachers in Mondulkiri province’s Koh Nhek district, in which ranger Cheng Chanthy was shot in the thigh. The poachers escaped.

Chanthy was later transferred to Phnom Penh’s Calmette hospital.

Seng Teak, the country director of WWF-Cambodia, a wildlife organisation that works closely with the government, called for an end to all poaching and illegal logging in protected areas to safeguard Cambodia’s wildlife and forests for the benefit of future generations.

He also urged the relevant authorities to properly investigate such crimes and punish offenders according to the law.