Siem Reap Provincial Forestry Administration officials released 382 lesser whistling ducks near a natural lake in Banteay Srei district’s Boeung Chhouk community on Sunday morning after they were captured from two animal traffickers.

Prasat Bakong district police chief Lim Sambath told The Post that at 12:30am, his forces arrested Yeng Chhun Heng, 33, and his partner Chat Raksmey (age unknown) in Chrey village in Prasat Bakong district’s Kandek commune after police checked their car and found 553 lesser whistling ducks, 171 of which had died.

“The two men are suspected of illegally transporting wildlife and the evidence has been sent to the Forestry Administration for further legal action,” Sambath said.

Siem Reap provincial Forestry Administration director Mong Bunlim told The Post that the 382 surviving lesser whistling ducks were released on Sunday at a lake located in Banteay Srei district’s Boeung Chhouk community.

He said the suspects were fined under Article 96 of the Forestry Law after they claimed the birds had been imported from Sa Kaeo province, Thailand, for resale in Phnom Penh.

“Whistling ducks are of the least concern, but they were imported and transported without a permit.

“According to Article 96 of the Forestry Law, the punishment is a fine of two to three times the market value,” Bunlim said.

Bunlim said the suspects were released after agreeing to pay the fine.