Over 100 Pompadour green pigeons have been seized from wildlife traffickers and released back into the wild by Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary rangers and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS Cambodia) after they were poached in the sanctuary in Sre Chhouk commune in Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district on May 10.

The Military Police’s patrol team chief Nhim Nhean, who was tasked with overseeing Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, told The Post that during a forest patrol operation on May 10 conservationists spotted a man using a trap to capture pigeons at the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Sre Chhouk commune’s Chak Char village.

"When the suspect spotted our patrol team he fled into the forest, leaving evidence at the scene including mosquito nets, 116 live pigeons and 25 dead pigeons,” he said.

According to Nhean, the 25 dead birds were burned at the scene by park rangers. Another 116 living birds were released into the forest in the sanctuary.

Han Sokhorn, director of the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, told The Post that park rangers were continuing to work with the Military Police and local police to search for the poacher for referral to court.

"According to the number of birds that our patrol seized and released, these crimes were probably committed by a group or network of criminals,” he said.

Sokhorn said there are many types of pigeon in the wildlife sanctuary, but Pompadour green pigeons were a type of bird that lives in dense and semi-dense forests. It has a gray beak with yellow markings on its throat and an orange chest.

He said that in general, this bird is mostly fruit-eating and lives in large flocks. Pompadour green pigeons are present throughout the year in the sanctuary. Their mating season is in April and May.

The Pompadour green pigeon species is not endangered and is accorded the conservation status of “least concern” currently, but stopping poachers from taking hundreds of them from the wild at a time is necessary in order to keep the species in that “least concern” category for the future, he said.