The US Agency for International Development (USAID) Greening Prey Lang project is spearheading an effort to safeguard more than 100 high-risk trapeangs, or waterholes, in the Preah Roka, Kulen Promtep and Chhaeb wildlife sanctuaries and in Phnom Tbaeng National Heritage Park.

Trapeangs are a high-priority wildlife habitat and the project plans to provide protection for them until the end of May 2022.

Fourteen local community members have been contracted to continuously monitor the trapeangs under protection because they are an important source of water for wildlife during the dry season, according to the Greening Prey Lang press release.

The press release also stated that the USAID Greening Prey Lang biodiversity staff will monitor the trapeangs one week per month as well because trapeang protection is a key element of their efforts to stop illegal wildlife hunting during the dry season.

At the same time, the Ministry of Environment and other stakeholders are campaigning for zero snaring in all protected areas to ensure the safety of Cambodia’s wildlife.

USAID Greening Prey Lang wrote on its Facebook page that trapeangs are critically important sources of water for wildlife in the forest, especially during the dry season and that because an abundance of wildlife use the ponds for drinking water there are poachers who illegally target trapeangs for hunting with with poison, snares and mist nets.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on March 30 that in order to protect wildlife from poachers the ministry’s forest rangers as well as protected area community members must regularly patrol around these water sources.

He added that in the past some areas were left alone by poachers in the northeastern region and in the Phnom Oral region because of the lack of water to attract wildlife.

However, this year there is no problem with water since there has been heavier rainfall, which has created some additional water sources for wildlife.

“Our immediate targets are around the lakes, the ponds and other water sources, which are the main trouble spots with snares often placed around them,” he said.

Pheaktra said that on March 3 the ministry and partner organizations launched a zero-trapping campaign in the protected areas to provide more safety for wildlife.

He said the main purpose of the protected area was not only to provide food, water and shelter for wildlife, but also prevent them from being hunted or snared.

“The six month Zero Snaring campaign will start in March in Phnom Penh and we will continue our work in Stung Treng on April 7 – and then in Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Kratie, Preah Vihear and Kampong Thom provinces – to prevent and eliminate the snares that are destroying our wildlife,” Pheaktra said.