Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Men claim tiger sighting in Pursat province, experts unconvinced



Men claim tiger sighting in Pursat province, experts unconvinced

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An Indochinese tiger in Mondulkiri province in 2007. This is the most recent photo taken of a tiger in Cambodia. Men in Pursat province claim to have seen a tiger on Wednesday. WWF Cambodia

Men claim tiger sighting in Pursat province, experts unconvinced

Five men in Roleab village in Pursat province reported having spotted a tiger at a cashew plantation on Thursday, although experts believe the animal was actually a leopard after examining a piece of a tree branch it had bitten, officials said on Thursday.

Un Ho, police chief in Roleab commune, said plantation owner Sos Brohim and four of his workers claimed to have seen the tiger at the plantation. Experts, however, remained unconvinced of the report.

“However, according to Sos Brohim [he] discovered the rare animal with his own eyes [on Thurday]; the animal that he had seen was a tiger,” he said.

Chea Bunly, director of the Pursat town Forestry Administration, said when experts showed photos of wild cats to Brohim, he pointed to a tiger as the animal he had seen. But Pursat Forestry Administration officials believe the cat was a leopard based on the bite marks examined on Thursday.

Bunly urged the villagers to be careful with the leopard.

Brohim describe the animal as having black and yellow stripes, and as having “roared terribly”. He maintained the group had seen a tiger. “We really saw the tiger and I hid at the hill near a stream and there is dense grass and thatch.”

The last confirmed tiger sighting in Cambodia was in 2007, when one was captured on film by a camera trap in the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province, according to Seng Teak, country director for the World Wildlife Fund Cambodia. In 2014, a man from Pursat also reported having been attacked by a tiger, though the animal was found to be a sun bear.

“Other cat species live in the forests of Cambodia including leopard, clouded leopard, golden cat, marbled cat and fishing cat,” he said in an email. “All these cat species including tiger in local term [are] called ‘Kla’.”

The animal spotted could have been any of those other wild cats, he said.

Ken Sereyrotha, country director for the Wildlife Conservation Society, said Cambodia hasn’t had a “sign of existence of this species for years”. He said he also believed the animal to be a leopard.

Keo Omalis, deputy director of Forestry Administration, said the government has “never” acknowledged tigers are extinct in Cambodia. An ongoing plan to reintroduce tigers into the country is needed simply because there are not enough tigers now, he claimed.

Teak said WWF is working with the government to address threats and secure the Eastern Plains landscape to “reintroduce wild tigers”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants