The Ministry of Environment and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Cambodia) have provided certificates of excellence to six out of 100 rangers in Mondulkiri province as recognition for their outstanding efforts.
Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said of the six rangers, three had been working in the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary and the other three in the Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary.
Pheaktra presented these six outstanding rangers with their certificates at the Trapaing Thmear headquarters in the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary earlier this week while giving a tour of the sanctuary for members of the press to help familiarise them with the important conservation work there.
Pheaktra said the certificates are a testament to the ranger’s devotion to their work. He also encouraged them to keep developing their professional skills and to mentor other rangers who were less experienced or needed some guidance to bring their performance on the job up to their level.
He reminded the rangers that the ministry considered them to be the heroic guardians of the sacred forest and the front line of defence against the destruction of Cambodia’s natural resources.
“Even though our rangers are very experienced and in some cases they have gone on hundreds of patrols during their career they still have to continue training in new techniques to increase the ranger force’s capabilities so that they can be effective forest guards in the future,” he said.
As part of its role as one of the ministry’s primary conservation and development partners, WWF-Cambodia was also on hand to congratulate and thank the rangers and to issue them certificates recognising their work and letters of appreciation.
WWF-Cambodia country director Seng Teak said awarding the rangers the certificates and letters of appreciation was a small thing compared to the big difference these rangers had made as part of the nation’s conservation efforts.
“These rangers ... have been instrumental in the protection of two of Cambodia’s most important wildlife sanctuaries starting in 2013 on through 2020 and beyond, and all Cambodian people owe them a debt of gratitude. Thank you,” Teak said as he addressed the rangers.
According to Teak, from 2013 to 2020 these six rangers had collected 24,798 traps; 10,925m of electrified traps; 1,752 chainsaws; confiscated 26,486 cubic metres of timber; prevented 23,898ha of illegal forest encroachment; issued warning letters in 1,597 cases; and sent 123 of the worst perpetrators to court.
Oeun Samrith, a ranger at Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary, expressed his pleasure at receiving the certificate recognising his excellence in the performance of his duties. He said this was the first time he had seen such an award given out in his seven years as a ranger and he was proud that he was one of those to receive it.
“The sanctuary, which I have patrolled for seven years now, is in less danger than some others but if it remains that way it will be because we did our jobs well. I think I was given the award because I refuse to give up on conservation work and protecting our natural resources and our biodiversity,” he said.
Samrith added that the rangers were most effective when they had the cooperation of the locals who alerted them whenever a forestry crime occurred.