The Ministry of Environment has donated 1,000 domestic animals to residents and troops living in natural protected areas to provide livelihoods and encourage people to protect and conserve natural resources. The initiative is part of the ministry’s protection and conservation project.

The ministry said 216 buffaloes, 153 cows, 67 bulls, 247 sheep, 267 goats and 50 pigs were given to people for them to raise.

The livestock were given to people living in three natural protected area communities in Preah Vihear and Mondulkiri provinces and in the Military Zone 1 and the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.

The ministry also provided livestock to people in Kampong Speu, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom and Preah Vihear provinces.

Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra told The Post that this grant was part of the government’s Forum on Protecting and Conserving Natural Resources, which was initiated in 2017 to create options for improving people’s lives in local communities.

He explained: “First, the working group of the General Department of Local Communities chooses target communities, especially communities that have joined the ministry in preventing natural resource crimes. The ministry then selects families based on certain criteria and discussions with community committees, local authorities and stakeholders,” he said.

He said the ministry has provided capital to 32 communities, but only 3.5 per cent of the families have received the total amount due to the ministry’s limited resources.

Nevertheless, he said the project has produced good results such as strengthening law enforcement with rangers. However, this has not been enough and the ministry has set up headquarters in natural protected areas and patrols.

“The ministry started the project in 2017, especially during the Covid-19 outbreak. The ministry has paid greater attention to the wellbeing of local communities,” Pheaktra said.

“Communities that have received funds since 2017 continue sharing this money with new members because it is working capital. The ministry’s plan is for the work to continue until 2030.”

From 2017 to 2020, the ministry has also provided capital to 32 natural protected area communities, benefitting 950 members of community families.

Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary head Pet Pheaktra said the project encouraged communities to plant rice crops and raise animals rather than log trees or hunt animals in the forest, which are illegal activities.

Seav Kuoy Yi