Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Logging still ongoing in wildife sanctuary: NGO

Logging still ongoing in wildife sanctuary: NGO

Logging still ongoing in wildife sanctuary: NGO

Almost 10,000 hectares of Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in Ratanakkiri province have been logged illegally since October, a conservationist claimed yesterday, in the latest account of devastation in the area.

Sum Phearun, Birdlife International’s project officer, said yesterday he was shocked at the scale of logging outside areas granted to Vietnamese company Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) Group as economic land concessions (ELCs).

“The sanctuary is a shelter for all kinds of wildlife animals – but what illegal logging is doing to the forest and its natural resources is a tragedy,” he said.

Phearun said he filed a report about the illegal logging to his manager, who then visited Hanoi to speak with HAGL Group.

“The boss of Hoang Anh Gia Lai denied his company was logging,” he said. “He says he’s not involved, but maybe [others in the company] are.”

The Post reported last week that HAGL owns companies that hold at least three ELCs totalling almost 30,000 hectares in the area, including two inside the sanctuary. Under the Land Law, an individual can possess up to 10,000 hectares of ELC land.

NGO workers have accused the companies – Hoang Anh Andong Meas, Hoang Anh Lumphat and Hoang Anh Ouyadav – of illegal logging in the past month, based on witness accounts and timber seizures.

HAGL gave no comment. A representative of Hoang Anh Andong Meas said he was busy.

Chhay Thy, from rights-group Adhoc, has estimated that about 16,000 trees have been felled illegally in the sanctuary.

One worker, speaking anonymously, said logging and associated corruption was widespread in the sanctuary.

“I’ve seen timber being transported out,” he said. “They also hunt animals. They dare to log, so why not hunt?”

Veasna Thou, from Birdlife International and People, Resources and Conservation Foundation, said logging threatened all birds in the area, including the white-shouldered ibis, the sarus crane and the long-billed vulture.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,