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Herd of Eld’s Deer caught on camera in Sambo Sanctuary

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A herd of seven Eld’s deer had been photographed by an automatic camera embedded in Kratie province’s Sambo Wildlife Sanctuary on April 24. WWF Cambodia

Herd of Eld’s Deer caught on camera in Sambo Sanctuary

Wildlife researchers from the Ministry of Environment – along with the Kratie provincial environment department – are pleased to report that their camera traps in Kratie province’s Sambo Wildlife Sanctuary have captured images confirming the presence within the protected area of the endangered Eld’s deer (species name Rucervus eldii) on April 24.

Kratie provincial Department of Environment director Duong Chhay Savuth told The Post that a herd of seven Eld’s deer had been photographed by an automatic camera embedded in the sanctuary.

"We were thrilled to receive pictures of the Eld’s deer herd from the camera traps that our team installed with the experts from the ministry and the World Wildlife Fund. These pictures show that this species is able to reproduce in the protected area of Sambo Wildlife Sanctuary," said Chhay Savuth.

According to Chhay Savuth, wildlife studies based on the pictures captured by camera traps in the sanctuary was an ongoing project over the course of the first quarter of 2021. The local community also participated by helping patrol the area near the sanctuary.

He added that the team has installed camera traps at 11 locations Eld’s Deer are thought to live in the sanctuary, covering a total of 5,093ha located along the Mekong River.

The photos of the Eld’s deer herd provides vital scientific information about the status of the species in the sanctuary in 2021, which will be used to contribute to aiding the survival of the species both in Cambodia and across the region.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said it was good news for Cambodia that this species was still present in the protected areas.

"Because Cambodia has enjoyed a long period of peace and stability now, we have had enough time and resources available to focus on natural resource protection and conservation plans," he said.

According to Pheaktra, in the last 10 years some species – including rare and protected species – have increased their numbers in Cambodia significantly, though some other species populations merely remained stable while others continue to be threatened.

"But overall, we are proud of our progress with wildlife conservation in the protected areas. The main problem posing a threat to wildlife now are traps and hunting,” he said.

According to the environment ministry’s report from 2020, nearly 50,000 traps were removed from protected areas over the course of that year and over 11,000 traps have been removed already in the first three months of 2021.

Pheaktra appealed to the public to stop eating wild animals, stop using wildlife products and put an end to the wildlife pet trade, all of which poses a high risk to human health because viruses can jump from animals to humans. That is what is thought to have happened with Covid-19, which is believed to have been a virus found in bats that mutated and began infecting humans who came into contact with the bats.

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