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Wildlife sanctuaries confiscate illegal traps, educate poachers

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Wildlife sanctuaries’ enforcement teams confiscated illegal traps at Siem Pang wildlife sanctuary at Stung Treng province. Supplied

Wildlife sanctuaries confiscate illegal traps, educate poachers

Siem Pang and Siem Pang Khang Lech wildlife sanctuaries’ enforcement teams this month confiscated a total of three chainsaws, two homemade guns, a fish electrocution device and 608 snares, said a BirdLife International Cambodia Programme broadcast on Wednesday.

BirdLife International programme manager Bou Vorsak told The Post that the hunting and trapping devices were intercepted during patrols in the wildlife sanctuaries, which contain five endangered species – including ibises and vultures.

However, Vorsak said the concept of wild animal conservation has become more widely understood and crime in the sanctuaries is on the decline.

“Most understand the issue, but a small number of people do not. Therefore, education efforts need to be undertaken in conjunction with conservation. When it comes to the number of traps set, it has declined compared to last year. But it cannot be completely eliminated . . . it’ll keep going on,” he said.

Wildlife sanctuary recognition

Siem Pang and Siem Pang Khang Lech wildlife sanctuaries stretch over 132,321ha and were recognised as wildlife sanctuaries in 2016.

This allows the Ministry of Environment to administer the area in cooperation with relevant ministries, institutions and Stung Treng provincial administration to ensure environmental protection, biodiversity conservation and the sustainable consumption of natural resources.

Stung Treng provincial Department of Environment director Eng Phirong said hunting crimes in both wildlife sanctuaries has declined since last year. There have been more sightings of animals such as gaurs, red muntjacs and deer recently.

‘Important in the world’

He said authorities often educate people on the value of endangered species and biodiversity protection through both direct instructions and meetings, adding that in a previous patrol, authorities did not arrest the poachers, but disciplined them and ordered them to sign contracts to stop hunting.

“As the director of the department, I need to educate them because some of the animals are endangered. We need to explain to them that, like vultures, they are animals that are important in the world and they are only here in Cambodia,” he said.

According to Phirong, a small number of people who continually hunt and lay traps have admitted that they do not understand conservation significance.

“Some people in remote areas don’t know. Sometimes, they won’t know the importance of monkeys until we educate them about the significance of such animals to society,” he said.

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