In conjunction with World Wildlife Day which fell on Tuesday, the Ministry of Environment has called on the people to stop eating wildlife meat and take part in the preservation and conservation of wildlife and natural resources.
A celebration to mark the day was held under the theme Sustaining All Life on Earth to highlight biodiversity values.
Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said it wanted to showcase the richness of plant and animal life on the planet and convey the value that biodiversity has provided and benefited the people.
He said the day also reminded everyone of the need to act against wildlife crimes and the decline in some species due to human activities that could affect the economy, environment and country.
Pheaktra said the government had taken great care to preserve and conserve biodiversity in protected areas to preserve them for generations to come.
“In rescuing and preserving wildlife, rangers stationed in protected areas removed 17,175 snares from the forests last year, an increase of 5,000 compared to 2018.
“The province with the highest number of snares removed was Koh Kong at 7,074 last year,” he said.
Cambodia, Pheaktra said, is a biodiversity-rich country with 123 species of mammals, 545 species of birds, 88 species of reptiles, 2,308 species of vascular plants, 874 species of fish, 24 hard corals, 14 species of soft corals, 10 species of seagrass and 63 species of amphibians.
There are also several species of plants and animals that have not yet been studied and identified, he said.
The plant and animal species identified in the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature includes 39 species of mammals.
Among these endangered and vulnerable species are Asian elephants, tigers, Asiatic black bears, and clouded leopards.
There are also 36 endangered and vulnerable birds including the giant ibis, greater adjutant, great hornbill, vultures and black-necked stork.
“The flora and fauna of this planet are truly invaluable in an ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, cultural, and educational sense,” Pheaktra stressed.
On behalf of the Ministry of Environment, he urged people to take part in wildlife conservation and stop illegal hunting, snaring and eating of wildlife meat. Studies have shown that eating wildlife meat is not healthy, he said.
Pheaktra said that rangers and the relevant authorities in provinces regularly visit markets and restaurants to stop the wildlife meat trade.