Forestry administration officials in Siem Reap province on Monday seized nearly 600 kilograms of live turtles and monitor lizards in Siem Reap city.
Ing Putheara, chief of Banteay Srey Forestry Administration Division, yesterday said that his officials seized the reptiles from a Highlander SUV which was transporting them from Banteay Meanchey province.
“We confiscated 78 turtles weighing 378 kilograms and 53 monitor lizards weighing 209 kilograms which were inside the Highlander which we stopped at about 2.15pm on Monday in Chreav commune,” he said.
Mr Putheara said his officials along with those from Bakong forestry administration triage flagged down the vehicle following a tip-off, adding that it was being trailed by another car.
He added that when the occupants of the SUV saw the forestry officials, they stopped the vehicle and got into the car behind, which sped off.
Mr Putheara said that the SUV was impounded at the forestry division’s headquarters and turtles and monitor lizards were freed into the wild.
“We freed the reptiles at a lake in a rosewood plantation in Banteay Srey district’s Khun Ream commune this morning,” he said.
Mr Putheara noted that forestry officials have cooperated with Wildlife Alliance officials and anti-economic crime police officers on several occasions.
“We have confiscated hundreds of wild animals during our crackdowns,” he said. “People please alert out officials if you came across any wildlife smuggling cases.”