Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Flying foxes get the boot from Wat Phnom: official



Flying foxes get the boot from Wat Phnom: official

Flying foxes get the boot from Wat Phnom: official

5-story-2.jpg
5-story-2.jpg

The fox bats that surround Wat Phnom every evening may soon be a thing of the past if Phnom Penh officials have their way

VANDY RATTANA

Flying foxes are seen swooping over Wat Phnom – but they may not be there for much longer.

THE Phnom Penh municipality has evicted thousands of flying foxes - or fox bats - from the children's park on the southeast side of Wat Phnom as part of the city's ongoing drive to beautify the city, Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema said. 

"We want our children to have a pleasant environment to play in," Kep Chuktema told the Post Sunday, adding that the large volume of bat waste produced by the flying mammals had made the park unsanitary.

Five days ago, the municipality draped kites, scarecrows and bells across the tops of Wat Phnom's lauan, or Chheuo Teal, trees. The decorations had the desired effect: the flying fox population has largely migrated to the northeast corner of Wat Phnom, in the vicinity of the Cambodian Development Council (CDC).

The municipality decided not to cull the flying fox population, but simply to frighten them into leaving the children's park.

"We are concerned that the bats will be trapped for food if they move outside of the capital, but we have no choice [about evicting them from the park at Wat Phnom]," Kep Chuktema added.

But conservation groups have expressed concern that Cambodia's population of the species will be seriously affected by the move.

Damaged habitat

According to Sheng Teak, country director of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), it would have been far better for the municipality to build shelters near Wat Phnom for the flying foxes. This would have encouraged the mammals to nest in designated areas, limiting the impact of the waste they generate in the area.

"If we want to attract tourists to visit Wat Phnom, we should protect the flying foxes," he said.   

Flying foxes are bats of the genus Pteropus and belong to the Megachiroptera sub-order. They are the largest bats in the world and live in the tropics and subtropics of Asia, Australia, Oceania, islands off East Africa and a number of remote oceanic islands in both the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Many species of the bat are threatened today with extinction, and a number of species have died out as a result of human consumption.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants