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Fishy hunting practice

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Fishy hunting practice


The illegal practice of ‘poison hunting’ and the overuse of pesticides to contaminate watering holes poses a considerable risk to the three critically endangered vulture species that inhabit the Northern Plains of Cambodia, the Wildlife Conservation Society warned in a press release on Tuesday.

WCS-trained local communities and law enforcement since 2016 have documented several instances of poisoned watering holes resulting in dead animals across Preah Vihear, Stung Treng and Mondulkiri provinces.

Among the victims were the critically endangered slender-billed vulture, the large-spotted civet and woolly-necked stork. ‘Communities across the Northern Plains are known to use termite poison as a low-cost method to kill wildlife as a source of food but also to protect rice fields from birds such as doves and parakeets,’ said WCS Project Coordinator Mao Khean.

WCS Country Director Ken Sereyrotha warns that the use of poison ‘has the potential to cause irreversible impacts on globally threatened bird and mammal populations’. In emailed comments, WCS spokesman Eng Mengey said the highly toxic insecticide carbofuran (pictured above dried onto the skin of a dead fish) is a major culprit, identified through analysis of the dead animal’s stomach.

The concern, he said, is that vultures may feed on dead animals and subsequently be killed as well. ‘So far this year, we have found two poisoning cases, while in 2016 we found 8 poisoning cases,’ Mengey said.

Photo courtesy of WCS

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