Six tigers will be brought into Cambodia from India and released into the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province in 2022, while wildlife protection organisations have urged all stakeholders to raise awareness of the importance of tiger conservation.
Provincial Department of Environment director Keo Sopheak told The Post on Monday that India had agreed to export six tigers and release them into the sanctuary to help restore the species to Cambodia.
According to Wildlife Alliance, the last record of a tiger in Cambodia was in November 2007 in Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary.
Sopheak said: “From 2022 to 2023, if we think that the amount of food available for tigers has sufficiently increased, we will implement the plan and release them here.
“According to the plan, we will release six tigers to be brought in from India. The Indian government has agreed to the scheme.”
Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary, which spans more than 300,000ha, was chosen because experts considered the area to be abundant with food suitable for tigers, such as gaur, banteng and deer, he said.
On Sunday and Monday, the World Wide Fund For Nature in Cambodia (WWF-Cambodia) and the provincial Department of Environment marked Global Tiger Day in Sen Monorom town in Mondulkiri province with sprint races, artistic performances, educational games, question and answer sessions and an exhibition.
Global Tiger Day has been celebrated every July 29 since 2010, the last Chinese Year of the Tiger, when it was launched by leaders of the 13 tiger range countries – countries where tigers still roam free – and NGOs working to protect the species from extinction.
Together, these advocates for wild tigers decided that by the next Year of the Tiger in 2022, the focus should be to double their global population, which at the time was estimated to be in the region of 3,200.
WWF-Cambodia said: “This year, Global Tiger Day in Cambodia was run as a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about the benefits of putting tigers back to the Eastern Plains Landscape while also pointing out one of the biggest threats toward wildlife in Mondulkiri – the snaring crisis.
“Mondulkiri is home to Cambodia’s largest populations of Asian elephants and banteng. There are many other rare and endangered species including gibbons, panthers and 334 species of birds. Of these, 14 species have been placed on a ‘red list’ as globally endangered.
“Our objectives on Global Tiger Day and beyond are to raise awareness about how snares can affect wildlife, biodiversity and the livelihoods of the communities and about how bushmeat consumption can affect people and nature.