The Sorng Rukhavorn Forest protected area community, Buddhist monks, and the five communes of the community are planning to celebrate the 23rd Anniversary of the establishment of the community in Chhouk Meas village, Kon Kreal commune, Samrong town, Oddar Meanchey province on May 26 and 27. Officials claim that the establishment of the community has reduced forest crimes.

Venerable Tho Thou Ros, head of the community, said on May 9 that the celebrations were being held for five main purposes.

First, to share the communities experience in forest management with other communities, and second, to promote the importance of natural resources. They also want to educate the public about the importance of increasing forest cover. In addition, they want to raise funds to support their work.

Finally, they want to draw attention to the way forest cover reduces the risk of natural disasters like storms and floods.

“I invite every philanthropist from both inside and outside the country, to participate in offering charity to the festival, according to their respective generosity,” said Thou Ros.

He added that the programme will include spiritual education, as monks will perform sermons in the community’s forest tents and collect alms.

Provincial Department of Environment director Phuong Lina said on May 9 that the celebrations will not just mark the establishment of the community, but will serve to inspire the people in the area, as well as others, to participate in the conservation of forests, wildlife, and biodiversity, both directly and indirectly.

He added that through the efforts of environmental officials in the first four months of the year, both deforestation and the shipment of timber from the forest have decreased significantly, compared to the same period in 2022.

He said that the problem of wildlife hunting continues, but through regular patrols, the department has noted a reduction in snaring. He said that recently, park rangers discovered a baby gaur that was caught in a snare, but had released it.

“We have seen a significant decrease in crime because of our regular patrols, as well as activities at the provincial level. We have not yet summed up the precise number of offenses, but compared to the same period last year, have observed a significant decrease,” he continued.

He added that environmental officials recently sent a number of criminal cases related to wildlife and forestry crimes to court.