Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Red muntjac population surveyed in Mondulkiri

Red muntjac population surveyed in Mondulkiri

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Pilot study using camera trap in wildlife sanctuary in Mondulkiri province on August 28. ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY

Red muntjac population surveyed in Mondulkiri

Researchers from the Mondulkiri provincial Department of Environment have deployed motion-sensor cameras at 25 sites in Sre Pok Wildlife Sanctuary to monitor the number of red muntjac, amid concerns that its population may be declining due to illegal hunting and trapping.

The 25 camera trapped were installed on August 28 with the support and involvement of staff from World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF Cambodia) to monitor the number of red muntjacs in the sanctuary.

According to the environment department, red muntjac is a small species of deer with males having short antlers of only 10cm to 15cm in length as well as longer teeth to battle other males during mating season. They have a black stripe down their faces and a yellow-brown coat of fur that is darker on top and lighter at the bottom.

Also known as Indian muntjac, the animal is not considered an endangered species but is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as a species dependent on conservation in all of the regions it lives in, including India, southern China, Cambodia and its neighbours in Southeast Asia as well as Sumatra, Java and Bali islands of Indonesia.

The provincial department said this species may be at risk in Cambodia, now or in the future, due to illegal hunting and trapping for its meat.

“Red muntjacs sometimes exchange calls with each other at distances of up to 1km and will do so for up to an hour when in distress. Their food consists of foliage and plants, especially plant leaves, fallen fruits and seedlings. In some areas, they are active and forage during the day, but it can also be active and forage throughout the night if there is a disturbance,” it said, noting that they are also known as “barking deer” in some countries due to their noisy calls.

Provincial department director Keo Sopheak told The Post on August 29 that after installing the camera traps, researchers will continue to collect captured images and footage of red muntjacs on an ongoing basis to estimate the size of the population that remains in the area.

He said the research project could be completed by the end of this year and experts will do a statistical analysis based on the number of animals captured in the images, the size of the area being monitored and the distances typically ranged by red muntjacs over an equivalent time period.

“We collect the pictures every week and our officers will take this data to analyse and document the appearance of the heads of the species to identify every red muntjac we can find in the sanctuary, but that process hasn’t begun yet.

“The researchers will also do an analysis of how or whether the red muntjac in Cambodia may be different to other muntjac species just in case it is a unique sub-species, but we may not find any differences as they could all just be one species,” he said.

According to Sopheak, a study between 2012 and 2014 found that the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri had more than 1,000 red muntjacs, but noted that this figure may have declined or still be declining due to illegal poaching.

“We suspect that, due to hunting activities, the number of red muntjacs has decreased. That is why the department, in collaboration with WWF Cambodia, is working on this again,” he said.


  • Ream base allegations must end, urges official

    A senior government official urges an end to the allegations and suspicions surrounding the development of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, now that Prime Minister Hun Manet has addressed the issue on the floor of the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78). Jean-Francois Tain, a geopolitical

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • CP denied registration documents by ministry

    The Ministry of Interior will not reissue registration documents to the Candlelight Party (CP). Following a September 21 meeting between ministry secretary of state Bun Honn and CP representatives, the ministry cited the fact that there is no relevant law which would authorise it to do

  • PM to open new Siem Reap int’l airport December 1

    Prime Minister Hun Manet and Chinese leaders would jointly participate in the official opening of the new Chinese-invested Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport on December 1. The airport symbolises a new page in the history of Cambodian aviation, which will be able to welcome long-distance flights to

  • Minimum wage set at $204, after Sep 28 vote

    The minimum wage for factory workers in the garment, footwear and travel goods industries for 2024 has been decided at $204 per month, with the government contributing $2. Following several negotiation sessions, the tripartite talks reached an agreement during a September 28 vote, with 46 of 51 votes supporting the $202 figure.

  • Cambodian diaspora laud Manet’s UN Assembly visit

    Members of the Cambodian diaspora are rallying in support of Prime Minister Hun Manet’s forthcoming visit to the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78) in the US’ New York City this week. Their move is an apparent response to a recent call by self-exiled former