Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS Cambodia) and Preah Vihear provincial authorities launched a vaccination campaign to protect around 600 cows and buffaloes from being infected with Haemorrhagic Septicemia, a highly fatal bacterial disease affecting the respiratory system, in four villages in Kulen and Chheb districts.

The group is researching other villages that have experienced outbreaks of the disease to expand the campaign.

WCS Cambodia said on July 7 that the campaign is conducted in cooperation with the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Kulen and Chheb district offices of agriculture, natural resource and environment.

WCS Cambodia said the work lasted four days and was conducted in Kham Keut, Suong and Kampong Sangke villages in Chheb Wildlife Sanctuary and Sombo village in Kulen Prumtep Wildlife Sanctuary where 364 cows and 236 buffaloes raised by 127 families were vaccinated.

“Domestic animals are an ecosystem-sustaining species. These animals by feeding and soaking in the mud help to restore and maintain habitats such as ponds, which are important for many endangered bird species,” it said.

The vaccines were provided by the agriculture department.

Phann Sithan, WCS community technical adviser based in Preah Vihear province, told The Post that the campaign was planning to expand into other villages in the two districts.

He said vaccinations were to prevent the disease’s spread in not only domestic animals but also to wildlife.

“The villages have large numbers of cattle which are an important resource for residents. Another goal is to prevent the disease from spreading to other villages.

“The area also has important rare wildlife. Vaccinations will prevent domestic animals transmitting the disease,” he said.

According to Sithan, the disease can be easily transmitted from one animal to another by direct contact with any place infected animals used to stay.

According to WCS Cambodia, conservation and vaccination of cattle is supported by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). The project will also provide free vaccination to villagers’ cattle to prevent the spread of the disease.