Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Wildlife successfully reintroduced to Angkor Archeological Park

The Ministry of Environment, Apsara National Authority (ANA) and a partner conservation NGO have touted the success of Angkor Archeological Park’s wildlife reintroduction programme.

Pileated gibbons successfully reintroduced to Angkor Archeological Park. KT/Ben Sokhean

As part of the “Zero-Snaring” Campaign Phase II in Siem Reap province last week, a group of local journalists got access to a natural forest inside the Angkor Archeological Park, where some endangered species were reintroduced.

The Wildlife Alliance (WA) has been cooperating with ANA and Forestry Administration in the “Bring Back Angkor” project in bringing wildlife back to the Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Since 2013, around 40 wildlife species have been released in the park, including threatened and endangered species.

The released wildlife include pileated gibbons, great hornbills, green peafowl, wreathed hornbills, silvered langurs, smooth-coated otters, red muntjac, common palm civets and leopard cats.

Chou Radina, ANA’s deputy director of the Department of Forestry Management, Cultural Landscape and Environment, has expressed a strong commitment to conserving wildlife in the park.

“Since the release of wildlife, the park has become an ecotourism site in addition to cultural and historical tourism,” he said.

“The tourists have a chance to explore the natural forest and wildlife,” he added.

The ecotourism site at the park has attracted more tourists who typically would visit the ancient temples.

WA Director of Wildlife Rescue and Care, Nick Marx has praised the good cooperation between his NGO and ANA and Forestry Administration to conserve the wildlife in the park.

However, he urged Cambodian authorities to strengthen and strictly implement the law to take action against those who set up the snares in the protected areas.

“The decline of wildlife in Cambodia is because of the snare crises. Just one man has set up hundreds of snares in the forest,” he said.

Seng Teak, Country Director for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), has recently also called for strong legal measures to punish those who possess and hide snares, along with other hunting equipment to ensure the safety of endangered wildlife.

In his response, Ministry of Environment Secretary of State Neth Pheaktra said Cambodia has strictly implemented Forestry law and Laws for Protected Areas, noting the legislative body has recently approved the draft Code on Environment and Natural Resources.

Additionally, in Siem Reap City on Friday, about 500 people gathered in the town to increase public understanding of the importance of wildlife to the ecosystem, and the need for conserving wildlife and natural resources for sustainable development.

The event included performances by the Apsara Sangva Pich Role play group, story-telling by Buddhist monks on the importance of Buddhist involvement and public participation in ending the snaring crisis, pledges by representatives of Community Forests and Community Protected Areas, an exhibition, and a parade which was attended by more than 300 people.

Source: Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times

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