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Secure zone planned to restore wildlife in Mondulkiri

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Mondulkiri provincial officials Inspect the border of indigenous communities and Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary. Kroeurng Tola

Secure zone planned to restore wildlife in Mondulkiri

The Ministry of Environment and World Wildlife Fund (WWF-Cambodia) are working with relevant parties to establish a secure zone to restore wildlife within the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province as biodiversity in the area has declined.

Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on May 18 that the plan was at the consultation and study stage before an overall strategy to protect and conserve wildlife in the sanctuary and nationwide is prepared.

“Important activities for restoring wildlife are to establish a secure zone by erecting a fence. We stop wildlife trafficking and take the strictest measures to strengthen law enforcement against trafficking in provinces, especially international borders which are targets for supplying wildlife to markets abroad,” he said.

He said that over the last few months, the ministry and WWF-Cambodia had cooperated and successfully stopped wildlife and forestry crimes.

“Obviously, the results of research over the past 10 years within the Srepok and Phnom Prich wildlife sanctuaries show a decline in the number of banteng, leopards and red muntjacs. The decline was caused by illegal hunting within the sanctuaries,” Pheaktra said.

Eld’s deer, gaur and sambar do not live in herds, and they are facing extinction in parts of Mondulkiri province.

“When we talk about the opportunity of restoring wildlife in Cambodia within years in the Srepok and Phnom Prich wildlife sanctuaries and other areas, we think that it is not too late. Otherwise, wonderful forests would be left with no important wildlife in the future,” he said.

WWF-Cambodia country director Seng Teak said the project of restoring wildlife was being planned and consultation with the provincial environment department and heads of sanctuaries was ongoing.

Provincial environment department director Keo Sopheak said the secure zone for restoring wildlife within the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary may be established on 500 to 600sq km of land.

“We held two meetings with relevant parties and WWF-Cambodia. The first meeting was held at the national level at the environment ministry and the second took place at the local level on May 14 at the provincial environment department to develop concepts in establishing the zone,” he said.

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