More than 100 traps used to capture a variety of wildlife have been identified and destroyed in the past week and a half in Ratanakkiri’s Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary, a Ministry of Environment official said yesterday.
Provincial environmental officers have been studying animals at the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in collaboration with Birdlife International since December 6.
The observation crew installed about 10 cameras in the sanctuary and in the bordering economic land concession to take photos of the animals there, according to an environmental official who asked not to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the press.
Through the cameras, the environmentalists spotted several types of traps that villagers deployed in the sanctuary to illegally catch wildlife.
“Those traps are able to catch all kinds of wildlife animals, except elephants are too big,” the official said. “The traps are illegal, [but] the owners of them have never been arrested.”
The official said the group also witnessed illegal logging and transporting of timber within the sanctuary.
Bou Vorsak, Birdlife International’s program officer, said his officers spotted some traps, but he did not know how many they had confiscated. He declined to comment further until receiving a report from his officers based at the sanctuary.
Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said that at least 40 large traps had already been seized from the forest.
“Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary has the most wildlife animals in the northeast provinces, but now there aren’t many, because of forest loss and many wildlife offences,” he said.
Lumphat District Governor Kong Srun acknowledged that some traps are used within the sanctuary to catch animals, but that the authorities are trying to crack down on the crime.
“If there is forest loss, then wildlife disappears automatically,” he said, adding that a few months ago he met with all the commune police to alert them to the need for stronger enforcement against wildlife offences.