The Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC) is continuing its efforts at buffalo conservation in the Kingdom with a total of 120 buffaloes having now been donated to the academy to be raised at its Techo Sen Russey Treb Park in Preah Vihear province’s Chheb district.

RAC president Sok Touch told The Post on September 6 that ever since the park was established, the RAC had been planning to increase animal production there starting with dairy cows, sheep and goats, but the conservation of buffaloes through its breeding programme didn’t begin until April 2021.

“We have four points to consider for our buffalo conservation and breeding programme. First, buffaloes must not become extinct in Cambodia. Second, Cambodia is an agricultural country and so we should produce what the country can grow. Third, we must develop this breed of buffalo further and fourth, we must ensure it is a trade that farmers will understand,” he said.

Touch added that after gathering different buffalo breeds from April to September for its collection, the RAC now has 120 in total, including white buffaloes.

“The RAC would like to profoundly thank [Prime Minister Hun Sen] for donating a total of 72 buffaloes,” he said.

He also thanked Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth for donating 27 buffaloes and other donors for the remaining 21 buffaloes.

“After we complete our research, we will know how much money is needed to care for one buffalo. We will also understand how much money can be made by farmers who invest in the buffalo farming sector,” he said.

He added that the RAC will conserve the buffalo species they have as well as selectively breed five new buffalo species using artificial insemination and imported sperm.

Touch continued that the RAC will provide 50 per cent scholarships to 25 agricultural students who wish to pursue a master’s degree in animal husbandry. These students have to write a thesis and study in person at Techo Sen Russey Treb Park.

Sot Samnang, Techo Sen Russey Treb Park director, stated that the technical team will breed the buffaloes using multiple techniques including traditional mating and artificial insemination.

They plan to feed them with Pensacola lawn and King or Russian grass and allow them to live in pastures in a mostly natural manner.

“We will study them by breeding them to see how they develop,” he said.

Samnang added that writing a guide to raising buffalos would be an ongoing project for 2021 and that if any students or agricultural experts wished to contribute to the guide the RAC would welcome their input.