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Raid, patrol crack down on wildlife crimes

Officials in Battambang province inspect some of the 806 birds seized during a crackdown on the illegal sale of wildlife last week. Photo: Forest Administration
Officials in Battambang province inspect some of the 806 birds seized during a crackdown on the illegal sale of wildlife last week. Photo: Forest Administration

Raid, patrol crack down on wildlife crimes

Last week saw two large seizures of evidence of wildlife crimes, with authorities and activists in Battambang province and the Prey Lang forest taking 800 birds and 400 animal traps during raids.

On Wednesday, military police and Forestry Administration officials began seizing slaughtered and plucked birds from sales sites along the highway and at markets in Battambang’s Sangke district and the provincial capital, according to a report from the Forestry Administration.

The operation, which concluded on Friday, netted 806 slaughtered and plucked birds, but only one of the vendors was arrested, the report said.

“We crack down almost every day, but there are still many vendors,” said provincial deputy prosecutor Heng Luy, who led the operation.

“They are not afraid of getting fined . . . It’s very difficult; we can’t get rid of them.”

Separately, a Prey Lang Community Network activist said while the group’s latest patrol over the weekend had revealed fewer forestry and wildlife crimes than previous trips, they still seized 400 animal traps.

“We didn’t hear as many chainsaws as we used to,” said Hoeun Sopheap, a member of the forest network based in Kampong Thom province.

“We think the loggers might have stopped temporarily because they knew we were launching a patrol.”

Kampong Thom environment department director Tob Kakada said that forestry crime in his province’s stretch of the large forest has fallen by 80 percent over the past six months, since 50 full-time department officials were stationed in the forest.

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