Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New sanctuary raises concerns

New sanctuary raises concerns

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Trees felled in the Snuol Wildlife Sanctuary in Kratie province. Many are concerned about illegal logging happening in the Kingdom’s protected areas such as this sanctuary. Heng Chivoan

New sanctuary raises concerns

Environmental organisations welcomed the government’s plan to create a new wildlife sanctuary in Kratie province. But they also wondered whether the sanctuary will actually be preserved, referring to what happened to other ‘so-called protected areas’.

On October 5 Prime Minister Hun Sen signed the government’s decision to create a wildlife sanctuary of 50,000ha in the Sambo district of Kratie province.

The sub-decree emphasised that “the ministry of environment has the authority to arrange and manage the Sambo wildlife sanctuary in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Kratie provincial administration.

“Armed forces have the authority to ensure environmental protection, preservation of the ecological system and use of natural resources in a sustainable manner.”

In welcoming the news, Forest Wildlife and Natural Resources Protection Organisation president Touch Nora, however, expressed concern that most of the wildlife sanctuaries have been logged in the past.

“We saw that the authorities, who were skillful in protecting forests and natural resources, had instead conspired with the timber trade to log and destroy forests every day."

“Every time the government designated technical officers to go to a sanctuary, we saw most of that place had been destroyed due to a systematic conspiracy,” Nora said.

The Cambodian government often creates new sanctuaries. In April this year, a wildlife sanctuary of more than 30,000ha was established in Anlong Veng district, Chong Kal district, and Samrong town, Oddar Meanchey province.

However, in February, two wildlife sanctuaries, of more than 110,000ha combined were dissolved. Ministry of Environment spokesman Sao Sopheap said those lands were given to people as social concessions.

Snuol Wildlife Sanctuary had been established in 1993. And Roneam Daun Sam in Battambang province was a wildlife sanctuary since 2003.

Prior to the dissolution of the two wildlife sanctuaries, Sopheap said Cambodia had 51 protected areas and biodiversity conservation corridors covering more than 7.5 million hectares.

He said there were no plans to dissolve any other wildlife sanctuaries or protected areas, and that the government and the Ministry of Environment would continue to strengthen legal measures to safeguard the existing protected areas.

Director of the Natural Resource and Wildlife Preservation Organisation Chea Hean expressed regret over the dissolution of the two wildlife sanctuaries.

“The government should keep protected areas that were established by royal decree. They shouldn’t be completely dissolved,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Reports: Rainsy barred from Jakarta flight

    Sam Rainsy was on Wednesday refused entry to a flight from Malaysia to Indonesia, media reported late on Wednesday. The “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party’s announced return to the Kingdom on Independence Day on Saturday failed to occur. Rainsy

  • Government studying EU’s preliminary report on EBA

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Wednesday said the government was studying the EU Commission’s preliminary report on the human rights situation in the Kingdom that could lead to a suspension of access to its “Everything But Arms” (EBA) agreement. The

  • Gov’t: Rainsy’s ‘coup plot’ a failure

    The government on Wednesday commended the Kingdom’s security forces for thwarting the attempted “coup plot” by former opposition leader Sam Rainsy through his announced return to Cambodia on November 9. The comments came as Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue

  • Phnom Penh International Airport wins award as passenger traffic soars

    The Phnom Penh International Airport has been awarded Best Asia Pacific Regional Airport 2019 for its sustained high growth in passenger traffic in recent years. The award was presented by the Capa Centre for Aviation (Capa) – a world-leading and trusted organisation that provides market intelligence to

  • Tour guides question animal release ban in Angkor moat

    The Khmer Angkor Tour Guide Association (Katga) called on the Apsara National Authority to reconsider its decision banning all animals from being released into the moat surrounding the Angkor Wat temple after the authority prohibited the action for the sake of visitors’ safety. An Apsara

  • Rainsy blocked from boarding flight to Jakarta

    Sam Rainsy was on Wednesday refused entry to a flight from Malaysia to Indonesia, media reported late on Wednesday. The "acting president" of the Cambodia National Rescue Party's announced return to the Kingdom on Independence Day on Saturday failed to occur. Rainsy arrived in Kuala