Police from Kampong Speu and Pursat provinces and officials from environmental non-profit Wildlife Alliance cracked down on illegal logging and wildlife poaching activities in the Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary and the National Park in the Cardamom Mountains.
A report from Wildlife Alliance posted on social media said that after patrolling the forests from December 26-28, rangers were able to stop large-scale illegal forest logging in the Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary and the Cardamom Mountains.
They seized a total of 10 ox-drawn wagons, 11 chainsaws, four homemade trucks, one timber lorry, 11 pieces of wild meat, 11 electric chainsaws, three fish electrocution devices, 35 snares and a homemade rifle.
Eleven camps and four houses were also found illegally built in the areas.
Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team project manager Khem Vuthy Ravong declined to comment, referring questions to other officials instead.
Civil society organisation ACNCIPO director Chea Hean said he had noted numerous cases of forest crimes when he previously patrolled the area with rangers.
The Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary and the National Park in the Cardamom Mountains are adjacent to one another, which made forest crimes in those areas more prevalent, said Hean.
He said that despite reporting the cases to the Ministry of Environment and the ministry’s Kampong Speu provincial department, the occurrence of such crimes persisted.
“I have regularly patrolled the Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary and the National Park in the Cardamom Mountains with other rangers. I spotted many trucks rushing by to transport timber without interference from local police.
“We reported the cases to higher officials but to no avail. Offenders had stopped using timber transportation trucks and are using 20 to 30 homemade ones instead,” said Hean.
Neither Kampong Speu provincial Department of Environment deputy director Nov Nak nor Ministry of Environment secretary of state and spokesman Neth Pheaktra could be reached for comment on Tuesday.
However, Hean is planning to prepare a report on deforestation and poaching incidents in the identified areas and file a complaint to the Ministry of Environment, requesting legal action be taken against offenders.