Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Wildlife meat trade rampant



Wildlife meat trade rampant

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A vendor sells monitor lizard meat at Strung Treng market, where there are illegal wildlife meat crackdowns twice a month. Eliah Lillis

Wildlife meat trade rampant

To get a sense of the wildlife in the forests of northeastern Cambodia, visitors need only visit Stung Treng’s central market, where – despite repeated attempts by conservation groups to crack down – illegally poached meat is sold openly, as The Post witnessed earlier this week.

Fish and meat sat baking in the midday sun on Sunday, as vendors attempted to swat flies away from their wares.

While no efforts were made to conceal the sale of the meat, it was clear that vendors were aware the trade is illegal. One man asked not to be photographed as he weighed wild boar meat behind his stall on the eastern side of the market.

“Do not take photos. If a photo is taken and posted, there will be an arrest,” he said.Nevertheless, the salesman admitted to selling porcupine, red muntjac deer and sambar deer, among other wildlife.

One kilogram of sambar meat costs $8.75, the salesman said, while porcupine costs $7.50. “The meat is fresh and good. It can be fried and it is very delicious,” the salesman shouted to passing shoppers.

The salesman also showed off a porcupine’s head, claiming the teeth can be used to make a necklace that will stop babies from crying. Nearby, an elderly woman who declined to comment sat selling monitor lizard and red muntjac deer meat.

One of vendor said the sellers buy the meat from villagers and do not hunt it themselves.

One ethnic indigenous woman in a village outside of Stung Treng showed off her catch of the day. Pulling a net with two monitor lizards and a turtle from under a table, the woman confirmed that a broker purchases the wildlife from the villagers and sells it in town.

“The monitor lizard is trapped in the forest, and the injured or dead animals are sold at the market,” she explained. “But live monitor lizards are usually sold to Vietnam since they can fetch a better price.”

Hou Sam Ol, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said he sees wildlife meat sold openly in at least three market stalls in Stung Treng.

“We have seen some crackdowns as well, but there aren’t tough measures,” he said. “They halt activities in the morning and people are selling it again in the evening . . . These animals, especially the muntjac, will be extinct if this doesn’t stop.”

According to Suwanna Gauntlett, the CEO of Wildlife Alliance in Cambodia, the organisation’s Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team is working to stop the sale of wild game meat in Stung Treng, but poachers are able to evade.

“Our unit is small and it travels around the country, but it can’t be everywhere as much as we’d like. [Poachers] know we’re there and they hide until we’ve left.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants