Mondulkiri provincial governor Thong Savon has advised environmental officials at the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary to look for a suitable location to establish a wildlife breeding station and possibly establish a zoo in tandem with it to draw tourists, according to provincial administration spokesman Cheak Mengheang.
Mengheang said on April 25 that following a meeting with environmental officials on April 24, Savon advised the sanctuary officials to look for a suitable location to establish a wildlife breeding station that could double as a wildlife zoo for tourists to visit.
He said the governor also advised the environmental officials to select species of animals for breeding that are endangered or close to extinction, in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature in Cambodia (WWF-Cambodia).
“We are trying to increase the population numbers of the endangered species. He advised us to construct a fence around the land and breed many kinds of animals. For example, if there are 100ha or 200ha, we could fence in for the animals to breed that tourists can visit,” he said.
According to Mengheang, the idea to establish a wildlife breeding centre in the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary came after National Road 76 was upgraded, providing easier access to the area. Additionally, there are beautiful brushwood and other trees there which are favourable for wildlife.
WWF-Cambodia director Seng Teak said on April 25 that the organisation was in the process of writing a proposal that would examine the positive and negative impacts on wildlife from the governor’s idea and to look for ways to increase the population numbers of the wildlife in Mondulkiri as well as the creation of eco-tourism destinations.
“We are looking at locations in general to establish as an area where wildlife can be protected from hunting, snares and other threats to wild animals so that they can reproduce in safety in the sanctuary. And we would also work with the technical team to move some wild animals into the safe area to protect them,” he said.
Sok Vichea, a biodiversity researcher, supported the establishment of the wildlife breeding station, saying that the threat of extinction to the Kingdom’s wild animals was due to many factors such as agricultural land encroachment and some development that affected natural resources or resulted in the loss of wildlife habitats.
“If we have a breeding ground as well as a place to release and raise them in the wild with good care and conservation, I think it could be a good sign and could help keep those species from becoming extinct,” he said.
He added that the establishment of a wildlife breeding centre would contribute to the preservation of natural resources, in part because of the fencing and monitoring of the location which would bar intruders.
In order for the animals to live naturally, he said the experts should always examine the biological factors involved according to each species so that the animals can thrive and reproduce as much as possible.
“I think the breeding station may help to care for the animals already in that area. We probably couldn’t take animals from other areas and move them there because their biology and habitat needs would be different,” Vichea said.