Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Study to raise bushmeat risks

Study to raise bushmeat risks

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Bushmeat poses a risk of spreading deadly diseases from wild animals to humans if consumed. FACEBOOK

Study to raise bushmeat risks

Some 20,000 samples of small mammals and bats will be tested as part of a new study hoping to raise awareness of the risks posed by bushmeat in spreading diseases to humans, a Forestry Administration official said on Tuesday.

Chheang Dany, the Forestry Administration’s department of wildlife and biodiversity deputy director, said they began collecting the samples in 2017 from 150 locations across the Kingdom, and that most of the animals were bats and mice.

“We collected the samples from remote areas in the forest 50km from each other. To catch the mice, we placed traps in the forest,” he said, adding that the study is the first of its kind in Cambodia.

Bushmeat poses a huge risk of spreading diseases from wild animals to humans via consumption.

Globally, the most high profile example of this phenomenon is the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is believed to have been spread to humans after they consumed the meat of primates infected with the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in West Africa in the early 20th century.

More recently, the devastating Ebola virus that decimated communities in West Africa between 2013 and 2016 is also believed to have started from the consumption of bushmeat, namely fruit bats, which are believed to be the most common carrier of the disease in the wild.

Dany said one purpose of the study was to draw people’s attention to what kind of meat they were consuming.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

“When poorer people are living in bad conditions, they need to hunt animals in the forest because it is free and it’s their only choice. But we want to show them that you need to be careful when eating wildlife."

“We want to raise awareness among these communities as some animals could have viruses inside them. This study will result in an action plan to help resolve this issue,” he said.

Dany said the project was receiving international cooperation, and when infected animals are found, the samples will be sent to labs in Thailand, Singapore and Australia to be double checked and verified.

“We aren’t working alone. All the samples, when found to be positive [with viruses], will be sent abroad for verification before we issue warnings about the meat."

“We have support from universities in the US and the National University of Singapore, among other partners. We will release our findings either in the middle or end of this year,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom’s domestic milk still cannot compete with imports

    Price competition and a lack of confidence by consumers are the main reasons the dairy market cannot compete with imports, said domestic milk producers. The large displays of imported fresh milk at the Kingdom’s supermarkets present a cumbersome obstacle for local producers, they said.

  • ‘Pesticide-laden cucumbers’ kill two, poison 150 in Banteay Meanchey

    At least two youths have died and 243 others are being treated for vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, dizziness and muscle weakness after they ate cucumbers suspected to consist of pesticides. The incident happened on Saturday, said Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Ath Khem. He told The

  • Three dead, 13 injured in collapse at Siem Reap pagoda

    At least three people were killed and more than 10 others injured on Monday after a dining hall under construction collapsed at Prasat Kokchak pagoda in Kokchak commune, Siem Reap province. Provincial police chief Tith Narong said Military Police, soldiers and local volunteers had successfully recovered 16

  • Forest Harmony’s $18M luxury villas break ground in Kampot

    Local and French joint-venture Forest Harmony has broken ground on its $18 million “second-home” Luxury Holiday Villas project in Kampot province. Century 21 Mekong CEO and local shareholder of the project Chrek Soknim told The Post that the project will comprise 90 villa units covering 18ha on a 97

  • China Unicom enters Cambodia

    China Unicom, the country’s largest telecoms operator, has expanded into Cambodia to build optical telecommunication pathways in the Kingdom as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Hong Kong-listed company officially opened its China Unicom (Cambodia) subsidiary on Monday to become the

  • PP-SHV Expressway on track for completion in early 2023

    The construction of the $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, which broke ground at the end of March, is on track to be completed by early 2023, Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Vasim Sorya said on Monday. The 190km high-speed highway linking the capital to the