Animals dying from poisoned pond raises health concerns

Mom Sophon / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Some of the animals that died after drinking water from the pond. Phann Sithan

A Wildlife Conservation Society official yesterday expressed concern about the potential impact on birds, livestock and humans after a poisoned pond was found in a conservation area in Preah Vihear province’s Chheb district.

The issue was raised after some birds and livestock in Dang Plit village in Chheb district’s Chheb 2 commune died after drinking water from a pond that had been poisoned in order to catch animals.

Eng Mengey, communications manager for WCS, said he was worried about hunters putting poison in water sources to kill wildlife in conservation areas, which then affected other animals higher up on the food chain.

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“What we’re worried about is when animals are poisoned to death in the wild and are eaten by vultures, it will also affect the vultures that are being conserved,” he said. “Also, if the hunters sell the poisoned animal meat, it will affect the health of the people who eat it.”

A wildlife conservation officer in Preah Vihear province said he was mostly worried it could harm rare birds, especially vultures that are being conserved in the area.

“In Thailand, vultures have died from poisoning in a similar case. For the case in Preah Vihear province’s Chheb district, if the conservation officers and authorities can’t prevent it soon, more than 40 remaining vultures can be affected,” he said.

According to a report of the provincial department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, a working team found pesticides, 12 dead cows, and some dead birds and fish in the pond in Dang Plit village.

Poeng Trida, director of the provincial department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said the working team concluded that the perpetrators had taken the pesticides to poison wild animals in order to sell and eat them.

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“The working team has taken preliminary action to remove the water source to prevent animals from coming to drink, and the dead animals were burned to avoid any infectious disease to other animals,” he said.

Mr Mengey said some water sources vanished in the dry season, causing wild animals to search for the remaining water sources, which were poisoned by hunters in order to catch them.

He said the protected area of Chheb district and other areas of Preah Vihear province were the habitat of rare birds such as the giant ibis, white-shouldered ibis, vultures and cranes, which all might be vulnerable during the dry season.

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