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Wildlife book looks to put dent in poaching

Juvenile and adult Asian elephants photographed by a camera trap in Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary in 2009. WWF Cambodia
Juvenile and adult Asian elephants photographed by a camera trap in Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary in 2009. WWF Cambodia

Wildlife book looks to put dent in poaching

World Wildlife Fund for Cambodia and the Ministry of Environment launched a glossy, 76-page picture booklet about the Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province yesterday, with the goal of educating the public about the benefits of protecting wildlife and countering poaching.

The booklet, which took more than a year to produce, highlights in photos and text rare and endangered species in the sanctuary. It also features the tiger, which the NGO plans to reintroduce into the Eastern Plains Landscape.

WWF-Cambodia printed 500 books in Khmer and 300 in English, which will be distributed to schools, universities and state institutions, according to spokesman Un Chakrey. He added that the NGO planned to print more copies, but did not know when.

“It is very important to know which protected areas have which natural resources. The Ministry of Environment has done a lot, but the dissemination is still limited,” said Kong Kim Sreng, head of terrestrial protected areas at the ministry. “The launch of the Phnom Prich profile today shows the public as well as other institutions what kind of animals are left in each area.”

Kim Sreng added this information will help people understand wildlife better and could lead to the prevention of poaching. The ministry plans to eventually profile all 41 protected areas.

Phnom Prich was chosen first because WWF-Cambodia does conservation work in the area, and “we also have a lot of animal pictures from there”, Chakrey said.

Chakrey also said his NGO uses camera traps and photographers to capture the animal images, and WWF-Cambodia will help to provide photos for future wildlife profiles. There are about 60,000 hectares in total of protected areas.

Kim Sreng admitted poaching remains a major challenge.

“We need at least three people to protect 100 hectares,” he explained. “But currently Cambodia has only 0.3 people [per 100 hectares]. So within 100 square metres, we don’t even have one person.”

Speaking at a launch event for the brochure, WWF-Cambodia Chhith Sam Ath country director said wild species at protected areas are under pressure and poaching remains cause for great concern. “There are traps everywhere, how could wild animals escape?”

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