Preah Vihear is the second province after Stung Treng to have its natural protected areas chosen for implementation of the zero-snaring campaign. The campaign is initiated and led by the Ministry of Environment with the participation of NGO conservation partners.

The campaign in Preah Vihear was launched on May 16 in the Tmat Boey Thoeun Krasang community forest within the the Kulen Prum Tep Wildlife Sanctuary in Choam Ksan district.

Environment ministry secretary of state Neth Pheaktra and officials from the provincial administration, district authorities and the ministry’s partner organisations were there along with local community members.

Pheaktra said the six-month zero snaring campaign would eventually be active in all six provinces east of the Mekong River: Stung Treng, Preah Vihear, Kratie, Mondulkiri, Ratanakkiri and Kampong Thom.

He stated that the campaign was intended to change the attitudes of Cambodians who hunt for wild meat in the forests using snares because of the crisis that widespread use of snares and traps has caused as evidenced by declining wildlife population numbers.

The sanctuaries and nature reserves in the Kingdom must be snare-free because they not only provide shelter, food and water resources for wildlife, they also safeguard Cambodia’s biodiversity, Pheaktra said.

He noted that the areas in the six provinces that the campaign was focusing on were mostly natural protected areas where forests and wildlife are present. The provinces chosen are also locations where it is a known fact that the markets were commonly selling illegal bush meat in the past.

“We need to educate people by spreading the word and then prevent and crack down on the sales of wildlife more effectively, as well as change the attitudes of some people who like to eat wild meat to stop them from eating it and trapping wild animals,” he said.

Wildlife Conservation Society Cambodia (WCS Cambodia) director Ken Serey Rotha, who represents conservation partner organisations working with the environment ministry, applauded the initiative, saying that it played an important role in conserving biodiversity and natural resources by stopping the demand for wild meat in the provinces as well as in the country as a whole.

“Through this campaign, we will be able to attempt to limit the use of snares to catch wild animals and motivate law enforcement to punish offenders while spreading the word about the impact of trapping in natural protected areas,” he said.

Pheaktra also said that Cambodia’s wildlife resources were under great strain due to the ongoing hunting and trapping crises caused by the illegal use and trafficking of wild animals.

“To address this crisis, we came together today to launch the zero-snaring campaign in all natural protected areas of Cambodia,” he said.

He added that the main aim of the campaign is to eliminate the use of any and all kinds of snares. In 2021, the ministry and its partner organisations removed a total of 61,611 snare traps from 72 natural protected areas and other biodiversity corridors. On average, more than 40,000 snares are removed from these protected areas each year.

“We would like to call on all people to say ‘no’ to bush meat and to take part in the conservation of Cambodia’s natural resources,” he said.

Pheaktra called on the relevant authorities at all levels to take part in the prevention of illegal hunting with snares and to crack down on all offences involving the snaring, hunting and collecting of wild animals or their eggs – as well as stopping the trafficking in wildlife and their body parts for any reason – so they can help to protect and conserve wildlife and biodiversity of all kinds in the country.