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Illegal bird netting in Koh Kong destroyed

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Some 3,200m of illegal bird netting used to hunt birds was destroyed by forest rangers on Tuesday. WILDLIFE ALLIANCE

Illegal bird netting in Koh Kong destroyed

Some 3,200m of netting used to illegally poach birds was destroyed by Stung Prot and Wildlife Alliance forest rangers on Tuesday after they were discovered laying in mangrove growth south of the Cardamom Mountains.

Southern Cardamom Forest Protection Programme field coordinator Dragos Ionescu said on Wednesday that the rangers were struggling to contain illegal poaching practices, particularly at the beginning of Cambodia’s mild winter season when migratory birds travel through the area.

“Rangers in Koh Pov and Trapaing Roung had destroyed 4,800m of netting and confiscated seven loudspeakers used to attract birds from the forest into their nets.

“In that mission, our rangers saved 31 birds and returned them to the forest,” said Ionescu, who is also a webmaster for Wildlife Alliance.

Bird netting is often thousands of metres long and used to ensnare any bird that flies into them. The practice, coupled with deforestation, is the greatest threat to tropical wildlife in Southeast Asia, according to Wildlife Alliance.

Koh Kong provincial Department of Environment director Morm Phalla told The Post on Wednesday that provincial rangers had cooperated with Wildlife Alliance to put an end to the hunting, catching and snaring of birds and animals, but the crimes continued.

“Every year, our rangers work together with Wildlife Alliance to patrol, crack down and confiscate thousands of metres of netting left lying in forested areas,” Phalla said.

However, Dragos said catching birds illegally by using netting was a habitual crime for the people of Koh Kong province.

“Hunters create a wall out of thin black nets which cover hundreds of metres. To attract the birds, they use mature male pigeons to attract other birds with their chirping,” he said.

A more costly method, Dragos said, is the use of speakers, car CD players and car batteries as tools to replay the sound of birds chirping continuously to lure them into the netting.

“It’s migration season for birds, so they’re travelling to different places. It’s also the time when our team works to protect beaches and search for bird netting,” he said.

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