Community patrols in Mondulkiri province confiscated more than 500 snares and 80 chainsaws last year while arresting seven people and warning 57 others over illegal activities.
According to a Wildlife Conservation Society statement issued yesterday, the patrols were led by Environment Ministry officials and members of local communities.
They cracked down on illegal activity in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary by confiscating illegal equipment used by offenders to hunt and kill rare wildlife.
In 2017, the patrols with support from WCS actively patrolled in KSWS 52 times, spending more than 150 days in the forest.
“As a result, they arrested seven offenders, issued 57 warning letters to those who committed illegal activities in KSWS and seized many pieces of equipment, such as 86 chainsaws, 513 snares, six homemade guns, 72 machetes and axes, and 17 motorbikes,” it said.
Community patrol leader Em Try said each team had at least 15 members from nine different villages.
“Despite facing challenges, such as travelling into deep forest, staying in the forest for long days, transport during rainy season and personal security, they still performed their patrolling role very well because they know the importance of protecting forests and wildlife in KSWS,” he said.
Mr Try said more local communities were now volunteering to join the patrols because they were aware of the importance of forests and wildlife conservation.
He suggested that local authorities and communities join patrolling activities to increase their effectiveness.
“Anyone can support us by donating patrolling equipment, such as clothing, boots and hammocks that will allow our team to patrol in the forest,” he added.
Tan Setha, the WCS’s technical advisor to KSWS, said that with money from the sanctuary’s carbon credit sales and from donors, WCS and the Environment Ministry have provided the community patrols with human, technical and financial resources, allowing them to work on conserving the sanctuary’s forests and wildlife.
“We appreciate the patrols for their hard work and dedication because they have played a key role in protecting KSWS’s forests and wildlife,” he said.
KSWS is home to more than 60 species of flora and fauna listed as threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. The area is also of international importance for the conservation of primates.