Urgent action needed to protect wild animal species in Cambodia: conservationist group

Source: Xinhua| 2021-01-16 10:13:15|Editor: huaxia

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Conservationist group said on Saturday that the ungulate wild animal species in the Srepok and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuaries in northeast Cambodia's Mondulkiri province have suffered a dramatic decline in the past decade and that urgent action is needed to reverse the drop.

According to a joint statement by Cambodia's Ministry of Environment and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Xinhua received on Saturday, the results from a decade-long (2010-2020) ungulate monitoring program in both wildlife sanctuaries demonstrated that banteng, muntjac, and wild pig populations have decreased by 72 percent, 52 percent and 18 percent, respectively when compared with the baseline population estimates from 2010-2011.

The monitoring efforts also documented very low encounter rates of Eld's deer, gaur and sambar throughout the surveys, and suggests that only small and fragmented populations of these ungulate species still live in the landscape.

"The decline rates highlighted in the report is a wake-up call for us all, but presents us with a unique opportunity to reverse the declining trends," Environment Ministry secretary of state and spokesman Neth Pheaktra said.

He added that the decline could have been worse if without the law enforcement and conservation conducted by the rangers from the Provincial Department of Environment, community patrolling teams, provincial authorities and WWF.

The spokesman called on all people to stop consuming wild meat and all other wildlife products.

"We urge all people across Cambodia to say no to wild meat and participate in conserving the Kingdom's natural resources," he said.

Poaching and snaring fueled by the illegal wildlife trade are the primary cause of the severe depletion of ungulate species in Cambodia's Srepok and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuaries, the statement said.

"Snares are a principal threat to the ungulate species in the landscape and also a major contributor towards the rapid diminishing of the Indochinese leopard who prey on those ungulates along with other predators in the area," said Milou Groenenberg, WWF's biodiversity research and monitoring manager.

Although the situation is critical, there is still hope to save these wild animal species from extinction.

"It is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level to take immediate collective conservation actions," Seng Teak, WWF country director, said.

"The scientific findings in the report highlight the urgent need for comprehensive and innovative solutions in order to reverse the wildlife decline," he added. Enditem