An endangered gaur – a species of wild bovine – was reportedly shot dead near a protected forest last Wednesday in Stung Treng’s Siem Pang district.
A border solider named Namly Bun Thai saw the gaur fatally shot with eight bullets near Siem Pang protected area, according to fellow soldier Thorn Raksa, who asked him to post a photo of the dead gaur on Facebook on Saturday.
“He found that the gaur was shot with eight bullets in the neck, legs, ribs and its behind,” Raksa said. “We do not know who the shooter is.”
Siem Pang Forestry Administration chief Ly Korn said that they are currently investigating the case along with military police and BirdLife International officials, who patrol the 70,000-hectare protected forest in the district.
“The shooting of the gaur occurred outside the protected area,” BirdLife International program manager Bu Vorak Sak said.
“We don’t know the reason for this but Cambodians usually like to display the gaur’s head inside their houses. But this requires investigation as it’s a rare species.”
The gaur, Sak said, is just one of many rare animal species found in the protected area. Some of them include the giant ibis, white-shouldered ibis, vultures, banteng and the Eld’s deer.
He could not confirm how many gaurs are living in the area.
According to a 2013 WWF report, populations of hoofed animals in Cambodia have been in grave decline, with one of its indigenous species, the banteng, experiencing a 90 per cent drop in numbers since the 1960s.