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WCS warns of poisoned wildlife meat

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
WCS said that it fears endangered vultures may be killed by poisoning. WCS

The Wildlife Conservation Society expressed concerns yesterday over the poisoning of wildlife in the Northern Plains of Cambodia, an activity that could diminish endangered species in the region.

According to a WCS statement, endangered wildlife in the Northern Plains of Cambodia are facing a continued threat from the widespread use of pesticides to poison natural waterholes in order to pacify animals.

The statement added that the illegal activity could impact efforts to protect some of the last remaining populations of three critically endangered vulture species.

Ken Sereyrotha, WCS’s country director, said the NGO is currently working to better understand the social and economic drivers of the use of poison to kill wildlife.

“Consumption of poisoned animals carries substantial short and long term health risks,” Mr Sereyrotha said during a press conference.

Mao Khean, WCS’s biodiversity research project coordinator for the Northern Plains, said research teams found two cases of poison being used to kill animals in Preah Vihear province’s Chheb and Choam Ksan districts in 2018.

Mr Khean said the practise could affect the last remaining endangered vulture species such as the white-rumped, slender-billed, and red-headed vultures.

“In some of areas, people brought termite poison to use in agriculture. However, some people use the poison to kill wildlife, and in some cases domestic animals also died. The area is about six to seven kilometres from where the vultures dwell, so we are concerned that the vultures would perish when they consume poisoned meat.”

Song Chan Socheat, deputy director of the environment department in Preah Vihear province, responded by saying that the provincial governor and department of environment are working together to study the problem.

According to Mr Socheat, his team found a poisoned waterhole in Chheb district that poisoned ten cows that drank from it. Provincial authorities then used machinery to remove the waterhole and prohibited access to the area.

“We are trying to educate, disseminate and prevent people from using pesticides to poison wildlife,” Mr Socheat said.

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