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Groups call for end to snares

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A man (centre) is arrested for using illegal hunting traps in Kampong Speu on Tuesday. Supplied

Groups call for end to snares

Wildlife and biodiversity conservation groups have called for an end to the use of snares to kill wild animals. They say it is the most destructive and inhumane method to hunt and denounced all killing of rare and endangered species – such as tigers, leopards, elephant calves and protected birds.

Their remarks came after some 80 snares were discovered by patrollers on Tuesday in the Prambei Mom forest community at Prambei Mom commune in Kampong Speu province’s Thpong district. A poacher has been held.

Dragos Ionescu, Southern Cardamom Forest Protection Program (SCFPP) field coordinator and the Wildlife Alliance’s webmaster for Cambodia, told The Post on Tuesday that the snares were made from rope and motorbike brake cables.

“Snares are lethal and a silent killer of wildlife,” Ionescu said.

Prambei Mom forest community director Soeun Lay, who is tasked with protecting and preserving biodiversity in the area, said snares posed the most serious risk to the survival of rare wildlife.

“Animals that are trapped mostly die. The ones that survive either lose the use of limbs or at best become sick,” he said.

Three traps attached to wild dogs

Lay said that on Tuesday morning, his working group was patrolling the forest and found and removed a total of 70 snares, including three traps attached to decomposing wild dogs.

At 3pm, the group captured the poacher – a 52-year-old former soldier – as he was setting new traps in the forest and confiscated 10 more snares made with brake cables.

“Our working group handed the suspect and the snares over to Thpong district officials to take legal action,” he said.

Thpong Forestry Administration chief Sa Moeun said the suspect was being questioned and would then be sent to court.

“Setting traps is leading many species closer to extinction. Our team, and wildlife conservation groups, are strengthening our enforcement of the law and investigating and cracking down on all offences against wild animals,” he said.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said: “Setting traps to catch animals remains a challenge for our wildlife conservation work.

Many species of animals in our protected areas have been killed by traps.”

For the sake of future generations

Ionescu called on all stakeholders to jointly protect wildlife and their habitats and prevent illegal hunting for the sake of future generations.

He said that over the last six years, Wildlife Alliance rangers had collaborated with counterparts in the Ministry of Environment to remove some 120,000 snares in the Southern Cardamom Forest and other wildlife sanctuaries in Cambodia.

Last year alone, the rangers from the Wildlife Alliance found 19,378 snares in the Southern Cardamom Forest – rescuing 107 animals in the process – and destroying 427 nets with a total length of 14,518m.

Some 90 per cent of the wild animals that were saved were sent to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Takeo province for treatment. The rest were released immediately into their natural environment.

However, Pheaktra stressed that thanks to the rangers’ efforts and the participation of relevant stakeholders, especially the local community, the last few years have seen forest offences decrease considerably.

The numbers of some wild animals have increased in some protected natural areas, he said.

Pheaktra said 3,876 snares were confiscated from protected natural areas under the Ministry of Environment’s management in 2017, while in 2018 the figure fell to 2,767 – a decrease of 29 per cent.

Nevertheless, he appealed to all citizens to help stamp out illegal hunting by refusing to buy the meat of wild animals.

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