N official admitted the Royal Government is virtually powerless to stop the
trade in rare animal products.
Loa Kim Song, deputy director of the
Agriculture Ministry's Wildlife Protection Office, admitted there was neither
the legal framework or the muscle on the ground to protect endangered
He said: "We have regulations, but nothing has been done with
them. The hunting and trading still continues and we have no potential to
protect our national interests.
"Some big traders are backed by armed
men.We can not control them because we have no weapons or power."
present the only hunting regulations were two approved by the SOC government.
They are Articles 22 and 23 of Decree 35 in the Forest Practice Rules, passed in
Article 22 is very clear: "Hunting of wild game and birds
shall be absolutely prohibited until a new law is issued. The species of wild
game forbidden to be hunted shall be determined by prakas [regulation] issued by
the Ministry of Agriculture."
But unfortunately for conservationists, no
list of endangered species was ever issued.
They say it would be very
easy to compile as Cambodian wildlife species are present in neighboring
Thailand,Laos,Vietnam, and lists could simply be copied.
trade of endangered animals is controlled by the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), which is
administered under the auspices of the UN.
Customs officers refuse trade
permits for seriously endangered animals listed in Appendix I and controlled
trade is allowed for less endangered species listed in Cites' Appendix
But Cambodia's wildlife has yet to enjoy the protection of Cites as
the country has not yet joined.
The Wildlife Protection Office together
with the State Secretariat for Environment have drafted a hunting law in the
hope of closing the yawning loopholes.
The proposals have been forwarded
to the Agriculture Ministry for approval and will regulate the species, method
and time of year animals can be hunted. No decision has been made on penalties
for transgressors. International trade will be controlled by Cambodia belatedly
Many conservationists agree that hunting is a source of
food, income and employment for many people and should not be banned.
sport hunting is strictly regulated it has no real impact on a healthy wildlife
population as only aged adult males are targeted, expers say.