Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rare reptiles recovered in Kandal

Rare reptiles recovered in Kandal

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Customs officers inspect bags of animals that were confiscated from a man in Kandal Province earlier this week as he was trying to smuggle them across the border to Vietnam. Photo supplied

Rare reptiles recovered in Kandal

Customs authorities in Kandal province confiscated dozens of snakes and tortoises during a bust at the Vietnamese border on Monday, though the wildlife smuggler managed to escape while the search was being undertaken.

According to Moung Dara, customs chief at the Chrey Thom international checkpoint in Koh Thom district, where the bust took place, the suspect was stopped while riding a motorbike with large baskets attached.

“He kept [the animals] in the baskets under dead rats,” said Dara. “All of them were found to be alive.”

Dara said the animals were handed over to NGO Wildife Alliance, which collaborates closely with national and provincial authorities on combating wildlife crime and which will release the animals into their natural habitat once any necessary treatment has been administered.

According to Wildife Alliance founder and CEO Suwanna Gauntlett, the seizure included 27 elongated tortoises, 13 reticulated pythons and nine rat snakes.

The elongated tortoise is listed as “endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Gauntlett yesterday welcomed the bust, saying it is a mark of the increasingly prominent role customs and provincial authorities are taking in enforcing wildlife crimes in Cambodia.

“It shows on the part of customs very good will and a promising future for the cause of interdicting illegally hunted wildlife in Cambodia,” she said.

Demand for illegal wildlife products is largely driven by the Chinese market, Gauntlett noted, with that demand unlikely to abate anytime soon.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,