The Phnom Tamao Zoological Park and Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC) and the Pursat provincial Fisheries Administration have released five smooth otters, six dark-grey monkeys and 250 lesser whistling ducks to protected areas in Raingtoel Commune’s Kaoh Ka’ek village in Pursat’s Kandieng district.
PTWRC director Nhek Ratanapich said the site, a former fishing area named Lot 6, was chosen because it is the largest protected area in the province and is home to a rich variety of wildlife.
“The wildlife we released was taken by authorities from arrested traffickers three months ago. They planned on trading those species but the lesser whistling ducks were small and didn’t have proper feathers yet.
“After the crackdown, we kept them at the Phnom Tamao Zoo for three months until they could fly and could feed themselves,” he said.
Provincial Fisheries Administration director Phum Vimol said on Thursday that the released animals should be able to survive in their new surroundings.
“We will continue to monitor their survival for some time to observe whether they can hunt on their own. Will they be able to live with other animals? If they can’t find food or live with them, we will take them back to Phnom Tamao, but if they can survive, we will leave them there,” he said.
Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Lay Visith said government officials protect the area.
“There is no problem, the place is safe and there are no shooters because we have a group of mixed officials and fishermen working together to protect the wildlife in that area,” he said.