More than 125,000 animals were confiscated in more than 10,000 incidents of wildlife poaching in the Kingdom over the past 17 years, a study in the Biological Conservation Journal shows.
The study, entitled Plight of the Commons: 17 Years of Wildlife Trafficking in Cambodia, published on December 14, said: “Between 2001 and mid-2018, an estimated 125,445 animals were confiscated in 10,829 incidents throughout Cambodia.
“The animals belonged to at least 268 different species in 97 families of birds, reptiles and mammals.
“In 2,244 incidents (26 per cent), animals or their parts had been kept illegally in Cambodia and had been surrendered to Wildlife Alliance.”
Of those incidents, 97 per cent involved live animals numbering at least 12,800. The remaining 8,585 of the total incidents involved 44,947 live animals, the study said.
“When confiscation efforts are taken into account, the estimated number of confiscations, as well as the number of confiscated animals declined significantly,” the study said.
The researchers said they found birds to be the most confiscated – accounting for 71,440 animals, despite birds being involved in the fewest number of incidents.
Researchers also found that reptiles were involved in the highest number of incidents, accounting for 38 per cent or 4,125 of animals identified, the study said.
“Birds were the most number confiscated, and songbirds were particularly heavily trafficked. In terms of the number of incidents, reptiles were the most confiscated.
“A small number of specific reptile species were consistently targeted, and particularly prominent was turtle and tortoise trafficking.
“Most species that were confiscated are not well protected internationally or domestically. Many perceived common species were found trafficked and require better protection.
“Increased law enforcement efforts in and around protected areas, strong legislation to limit the use of snares, and improved implementation of existing laws are key to protecting all species in trade,” the study concluded.
Ministry of Environment secretary of state and spokesman Neth Pheaktra could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
However, in a Facebook post on December 6, Wildlife Alliance Cambodia said: “We’re currently losing wildlife species at a faster rate than at any point in human history and Southeast Asia is at the epicentre of this crisis.”