Some 300 chainsaws were used to build the new steel sculpture of an elephant to be displayed at Sen Monorom Park in Mondulkiri province, Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra told The Post on Sunday.
“The elephant sculpture was built to raise public awareness. We want the people to see the chainsaws that have been confiscated as evidence during crackdowns at five different wildlife sanctuaries in Mondulkiri province,” he said.
The chainsaws were seized during crackdowns on forestry-related crimes.
They were used in tandem with various motorcycle parts to build the structure, Pheaktra said, noting that the elephant is 2.8m tall, 3.1m long and about one-metre wide.
He said craftsmen were brought in from Kampong Speu province and spent seven months building the elephant with help from financial donors. Each component had been used in forestry-related crimes.
The Ministry of Environment hopes that the undertaking will encourage Cambodians to contribute to the protection of the Kingdom’s natural resources.
Pheaktra, who is also secretary of state for the ministry, said he hoped the public would consider the country’s dwindling wild elephant population.
He said that a thriving elephant population would not only delight visitors but also boost tourism revenue.
Mondulkiri Provincial Hall spokesman Sok Sera told The Post on Sunday that authorities had not decided on an exact spot to erect the sculpture.
He shared Pheaktra’s optimism that it would attract tourists and serve as a useful tool to encourage people to combat forestry crimes nationwide.
“We are now preparing to build a tiger, lion and wild ox sculptures out of chainsaws.
“We are going to find a good place in which to exhibit all the pieces to the public as well,” said Sera.
NGO Adhoc provincial coordinator Eang Mengly supported the project but urged authorities to more strongly enforce forestry laws.
“Besides showing off this elephant sculpture, the authorities should also pay extra attention to enforcing the law.
“Law enforcement is still limited, while the authorities pay even less attention to those conspiring to illegally log in protected areas.”