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

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese