A joint patrol team on Saturday afternoon spotted a dead banteng weighing more than 500kg at the Sorng Rukhavorn Wildlife Sanctuary in Oddar Meanchey province.
Members of the Sorng Rukhavorn Forest Community and provincial environment department officials based at the Phnom Roung Dek station within the sanctuary suspected that the endangered animal had died of wounds inflicted by a hunter’s trap.
Sorng Rukhavoan community forest head, the venerable Bun Saluth, confirmed on Sunday that the banteng had sustained severe wounds on its left feet which were caused by a snare made of bike brake cables.
“Based on the physical examinations, we found that the Banteng had not died of old age. It suffered from so much pain due to the injuries,” he told The Post.
Rukhavoan said sambar, Eld’s deers, Asian water monitor lizards, Bengal monitor lizards and different kinds of snakes and marine birds live in the forest alongside endangered species like banteng and gaur.
There are at least 70 recorded bantengs and 10 gaurs living at Sorng Rukhavoan, he said.
Rukhavoan stressed that the conservation efforts of the rare animals depend on the participation of the government, civilians and even the monks.
Official figures, including data from civil society organisations, show that there remain between 350 and 500 bantengs in the Kingdom’s forests.
Bet Kim Heng, the head of Phnom Roung Dek station, said wildlife and forestry crimes continued unabated despite relentless crackdowns that saw fines being imposed and offenders brought to justice.
Regarding the latest finding of the dead banteng, he even suggested that the hunter might have shot the animal.
“We were in deep sorrow after discovering the banteng had died horribly. Setting a trap to catch wild animals is the cruellest and silent way in which animals face extinction,” he said.
His subordinates, Kim Heng said, had dismantled more than 200 snares and confiscated three makeshift vehicles between January 1 and Sunday.
“The patrol team continues to comb through the forests for similar evidence,” he said.