Siem Reap and Forestry authorities yesterday raided three restaurants illegally selling wild animal meats to customers.
The three restaurants were identified as Maloab Moha Heng Restaurant, Thari Mak Brang Restaurant and Samros Mloab Mak Brang Thmey Restaurant, all of which are located in Trang Village, Slor Kram commune, Siem Reap city.
The three restaurants sold a variety of illegal meats, including turtles, wild pigs, swamphen, doves and many other types of wild birds.
According to the Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT), in February more than 330 kilogrammes of wildlife meat were also seized from the three restaurants, with the organisation reporting that the restaurants were involved in the selling of wild meat across Koh Kong province.
The WRRT reported seizing red muntjacs, monitor lizards and porcupine meat, as well as finding eight live Asian leaf turtles at one of the restaurants, which were subsequently released back into the wild by the Rapid Rescue Team.
Sarah Stoner, director of intelligence at the Wildlife Justice Commission, also said in May that despite the decline of wildlife trafficking due to COVID-19 movement restrictions, the stockpiling of huge quantities of wildlife meats and products in many countries still resumes.
The case was discovered after a source reported the businesses’ operations to the Forestry authorities.
This month, Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra expressed his desire to eliminate illegal wildlife trafficking, pledging the Ministry of Environment’s willingness to cooperate with any organisations whose mission is to stop the illegal transportation of wild animals.
“Unfortunately, as the wildlife animal market in Cambodia continues to grow and people still indulge in the habit of eating wildlife, the killing, trafficking and selling of wildlife continues to happen,” he said.
According to the spokesman, another case also happened yesterday in Oddar Meanchey province where a wild endangered banteng was killed by a trap designed by wild animal hunters.
The pictures went viral on social media as before the banteng died, the video showed the animal struggling while local villagers tried to help it escape from the trap. However, the animal still suffered fatal injuries.
“Should anyone witness illegal activity of this kind, the Ministry of Environment urges any sources to report it to the relevant authorities so that the action can be taken on time,” Mr Pheaktra said.