Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Wild meat trade targeted



Wild meat trade targeted

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
ZooCov – a project aimed at devaluing the wildlife meat market – launched in April. IPC

Wild meat trade targeted

Several research institutions, including the International Centre of Research in Agronomy for Development (CIRAD) and the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC), are cooperating with relevant ministries on ZooCov – a project aiming to provide insight into wild meat trade chains in Cambodia.

ZooCov will also document the diversity of beta-coronaviruses circulating through these chains, and develop a flexible and integrated early-detection system of transmission events, according to Dr Veronique Chevalier, the project coordinator with CIRAD and IPC.

She said the project, which started in April, will be conducted in Stung Treng and Mondulkiri provinces for 18 months. The two provinces were selected because wildlife trade and consumption has been reported there as well as the existence of bat colonies.

Project members have gathered an initial batch of human and animal samples. They have also interviewed people who have been exposed to wildlife meat as well as people who have not, Chevalier said.

The interviews carried out focused on people’s perception of disease risk since the emergence of H5N1, or “bird flu”.

The research team is currently working to improve the existing wildlife health surveillance network piloted by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

“The main benefits for people will be an assessment of potential or existing risks at the animal-human interface through wildlife meat markets and consumption in Cambodia. [Another] contribution will be defining effective surveillance and prevention measures in this country,” Chevalier said.

The project is being worked on by multiple parties including the ministries of Health; Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Environment; the Forestry Administration and local authorities from the two provinces.

The WCS, Flora and Fauna International, the French Institute of Research for Development and Hong Kong University are also partners, according to an IPC press release published on November 11.

The press release said over the last 20 years, three of the major epidemics – severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Covid-19 – shows that potential transmission of pathogens from animal to humans presents a serious threat to public health.

Environment ministry spokesperson Neth Pheaktra praised the research efforts and said the project would prevent wildlife crimes.

“The environment ministry is happy to cooperate on this project because this research is vital for public health, not just for Cambodia but for the whole world. The ministry called on people to stop touching and eating wildlife meat to avoid contracting diseases and to protect the wildlife resource,” he said.

Pheaktra said his ministry had presented several educational works to people to spread knowledge of the risks of consuming wildlife meat and the legal consequences connected to the wildlife meat markets.

He said when people stop eating wild meat, poaching would stop as well.

“Please don’t believe that eating wildlife makes you healthy or heals diseases. It instead causes health problems and can transmit diseases,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Preah Sihanouk hit with travel ban

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration has announced a temporary travel ban to and from the province, except for ambulances and trucks transporting goods. The announcement came after prime minister Hun Sen called on people in the province to travel only if necessary, and that people not

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said