Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Wildlife head for extinction



Wildlife head for extinction

Wildlife head for extinction

wildlife.jpg
wildlife.jpg

A cargo of animals about to be loaded for sale abroad

CAMBODIA'S wildlife, including endangered species, is without legal protection because

legislation dealing with the trade has been held up in the Council of Ministers for

the past two years.

In the meantime, wildlife traders and hunters have been pillaging the nation's animal

life.

According to airport sources, up to six tonnes of live wildlife, including snakes

and turtles, are flown to China each each week.

In addition, more than 70 Phnom Penh restaurants offer wildlife dishes on their menus

according to the Cultural and Environment Preservation Association.

They also said wildlife such as tigers are still being caught and used for traditional

medicines.

Head of wildlife research for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Rath Bunthoeun, said that his staff arrest poachers and sieze their catch despite

not having the legal backing to do so.

He said it was little more than a gesture, but they could do nothing else.

"If we arrest them what result do we get back? We don't have the law to punish

or fine them," he said.

Given that they are working in such difficult circumstances, Bunthoeun said, even

small successes are celebrated.

He said that his wildlife protection officers get a special satisfaction when other

departments like Customs assist by siezing wildlife that people are trying to smuggle

out of the country.

There has been a law drafted to address the problem, but it has not been looked at

since 1997.

Bunthoeun said that the law would allow for up to five years imprisonment for poachers

and traders as well as hefty fines.

However Van Piseth, the director of the Culture and Environment Preservation Association

said that he was worried that by the time the law became enacted there would not

be much wildlife left to protect.

He estimated that within five years much of Cambodia's wildlife would have been hunted

to unsustainable levels.

He said if this happened, then Cambodia would lose not only an important part of

its natural herritage but also a source of income from ecotourism.

He said it was an example of how Cambodia was not utilizing what it had to its own

advantage.

"We always say that we are poor, but our natural resources are rich. We just

don't process our resources," he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Inter-provincial travel ban lifted; Phnom Penh and Takmao not exempted

    The government on April 25 decided to lift the inter-provincial travel ban and the closure of tourist attractions across the country, effectively immediately. The travel ban and closures of all resorts were imposed on April 6 and 17 respectively in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown extended for another week

    The government late on April 26 announced an extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province for another seven days – or longer if residents do not comply with Covid-19 preventive measures and the community outbreak does not subside – until May 5. According

  • Gov't mulls extension of Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown

    The Inter-ministerial National Commission for the Control and Enforcement of Lockdown held a video conference meeting on April 25 to review a draft document on the extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal province’s Takmao town. The meeting was chaired by Minister of

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a