Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Elephants likely shot: NGO

Elephants likely shot: NGO

The remains of three wild Asian elephants were found inside the protected area of Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province on Monday
The remains of three wild Asian elephants were found inside the protected area of Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province on Monday. WWF

Elephants likely shot: NGO

A group of endangered Asian elephants found dead in Mondulkiri province on Sunday were likely slaughtered, investigators from conservation group WWF-Cambodia have found.

The organisation said in a statement yesterday an investigation into the deaths in protected Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary suggested the elephants were “slaughtered by well-organised poachers”.

An examination of the remains indicated the two adult female elephants were shot in the head three months ago and died together in the same spot, while the cause of the calf’s death remains unknown, the statement adds.

Nick Marx, director of conservation group Wildlife Alliance’s wildlife rescue and care program, reiterated yesterday that the elephants’ death probably had nothing to with ivory because female Asian elephants do not have tusks.

“The fact that females were killed could be because hunters wanted to capture a live elephant – a worrying thought if this once again becomes a practice in Cambodia,” Marx said.

Asnarith Tep, director of communications for WWF-Cambodia, said the wildlife sanctuary spanned 222.5 hectares and was officially under the management of the Ministry of Environment.

The nearby Mondulkiri Protected Forest and its nearly 400,000 hectares is also home to a raft of endangered species but is overseen by the Forestry Administration.

Jack Highwood, head of Mondulkiri-based NGO Elephants Livelihood Initiative Environment, said the incident was devastating but unsurprising.

“There are simply not enough boots on the ground to thoroughly protect both areas. These areas are too large with too little manpower,” Highwood said yesterday.

Government responses to the crime were mixed.

Chhit Sophal, director of the Provincial Environmental Department, expressed his sorrow over the loss.

“They died a long time ago and we don’t know why. Why did the Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary not know about this?” Sophal asked yesterday.

Heavy rains could have made discovery of the elephant carcasses more difficult, he suggested.

Provincial Governor Eng Bunhieng said he has yet to receive WWF’s report.

“It’s not true yet, my officers are investigating but no one has sent me a report yet,” he said, noting that if WWF’s findings were accurate his officers would be deployed in pursuit of the poachers.

Micah Ingalls, WWF-Cambodia’s country director, called on the Cambodian government to better protect the roughly 150 elephants left in the sanctuary.

Samrang Dyvichet, director of the Sanctuary and Keo Omaliss, director of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Wildlife Department, could not be reached.

MOST VIEWED

  • Restrictions re-imposed in capital as Covid cases surge

    Amid the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has shown no sign of subsiding with 750 infections and 10 deaths reported on June 2 alone, the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has decided to re-impose the suspension of all occupations and business activities deemed as posing high risk of

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway 51% complete

    The construction of the nearly $2 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway is 51.35 per cent complete and is expected to be finished in 2023, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of state Vasim Sorya. Invested in by Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd, the first expressway in

  • First 7-Eleven store to open mid-June, ambassador says

    Thai retail conglomerate CP All Pcl will open Cambodia’s first 7-Eleven convenience store in mid-June, Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn told The Post on June 1. The Bangkok-listed 7-Eleven franchise operator, the retail arm of Charoen Pokphand Group Co Ltd, granted CP All (Cambodia)

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • US embassy guard gets Covid despite two doses of Pfizer jab

    The Covid-19 tracking commission on June 4 said a security guard at the US embassy in Phnom Penh had contracted the novel coronavirus, despite having received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot two weeks ago. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 infection to The

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy