wo wild elephants have been confirmed killed by poachers in the Phnom Samkos Wildlife
Sanctuary, according to an official with the Pursat Department of Environment (DoE).
Pursat Department of Environment staff pose with the remains of an elephant
killed August 4.
Rangers in Anlong Reap village, about 30 kms from the Thai-Cambodian border, heard
gunfire and elephant screams on Aug 4. Two days later they discovered the carcasses
of one male and one female elephant which had been stripped of tusks, tails and the
male elephant's penis, said Ben Hammond, Environment Advisor to Pursat's DoE, who
investigated the incident.
The animals' remains were surrounded by six cable and noose traps that are used to
catch tigers which would be drawn to the site by the scent of the rotting flesh.
The elephant slaughter highlights a growing problem for the Kingdom's wildlife, one
which will be difficult to combat.
"According to local rangers, there is now more hunting, more organized hunting
and more elephants and tigers being killed in the Cardamom Mountains than ever before,"
said Hammond. "If something is not done to combat this hunting, in ten years
time these animals will join the rhinoceros and the khting vor-present in Cambodian
legend but as good as extinct in the wild."
A report on ranger patrol activity in the Phnom Samkos area submitted to the Ministry
of Environment and seen by the Post says that there are unconfirmed reports of two
other elephants killed this wet season, as well as reports of five unconfirmed tiger
kills and one confirmed kill. The tiger bones and skin were reportedly sold in Pramaoy
village in Veal Veng district for $5,000 cash.
Rangers in the area say they are aware of at least two groups of poachers wearing
Military Police uniforms who are all armed with AK-47s and grenades. Some are known
to carry 82mm mortar rounds that are used to set up booby traps to kill wildlife.
In a related development, a Bilateral Conference for the Conservation of Elephants
in Cambodia and Vietnam was held in Danang Sept 14 -15. Nine Cambodian officials
from the Ministries of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries and Environment participated.
The event, hosted by Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and
Fauna & Flora International (FFI), resulted in an agreement by Cambodian and
Vietnamese officials to cooperate jointly to protect the elephant populations in
Mondolkiri province and adjacent areas in Vietnam.