The Ministry of Environment and several partner NGOs kicked off phase II of the Zero Snaring campaign in Pursat province’s Veal Veng district on April 22. The campaign aims to end animal trapping and the illegal wildlife trade in Cambodia.

Environment ministry secretary of state Neht Pheaktra said that consuming bushmeat poses a serious risk to human health, as wild animals may carry a variety of viruses. Despite this, he said some people still claimed that the consumption of bushmeat could cure some illnesses. These claims have been disproven, he noted.

“We need the participation of members of the public from all walks of life, including those who report snaring and wildlife trading and the owners of restaurants. Everyone has an important role to play in reducing snaring and creating safe habitats for humans and wildlife,” he said.

The first phase of the zero snaring campaign began and ended in 2022, with more than 30,000 snares collected. The number indicated a drop by half of the number of snares discovered. In previous years, more than 60,000 snares and traps were discovered annually.

WWF Cambodia country director Seng Teak regarded Veal Veng district as a hotspot for the wildlife trade, which encourage poaching and snaring in the area.

He also warned that the consumption of bushmeat could create a bridge for transmittable diseases from wildlife to humans, which poses a risk to public health.

John Willis, country director for the Wildlife Alliance, said that poaching may provide short-term benefits for poachers, but causes long-term losses for the community as a whole.

Phase I of the campaign was carried out in Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Preah Vihear and Kampong Thom provinces. The campaign reached 3,000 people, and was covered by the media over 600 times. In addition, 52 restaurant owners committed to stop selling bushmeat.