Four Eld’s deer, an endangered species, were photographed for the first time in five years by camera traps in Sambor Wildlife Sanctuary in Kratie province.
The species is listed as endangered in both Cambodia’s Forestry Law and on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list.
Conservationists saw rare images of three adult females and one juvenile Eld’s deer roaming the sanctuary as they examined 1,710 photographs produced between August and September taken by camera traps being deployed at different locations in the 50,093-hectare sanctuary.
Seng Teak, WWF country director, said the photographs provide evidence that conservation efforts are paying off, raising hopes for the protection of the animals in the country and the region.
“We commend all law enforcement actors for playing their important role to regularly patrol the Wildlife Sanctuary and reinforce the implementation of the Protected Areas and Forestry Laws,” Teak said. “These efforts are a major deterrent to forest and wildlife crimes, thus helping wildlife be free from fear and stress as they can live in a safe environment in the sanctuary.”
Environment Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said forestry crime prevention was very vital to conservation of the animals.
“The presence of this Eld’s deer, a rare species in the world in Cambodia’s protected areas, confirms the effectiveness of the protection and conservation of natural resources, especially curbing of poaching and trapping,” Pheaktra said.
The photographs also documented red muntjac, wild pig, small Indian civet, common palm civet and large bird species such as the endangered green peafowl and vulnerable lesser adjutant.
There are an estimated 700 Eld’s deer scattered across the globe with a small sub-population remaining in the Kingdom’s protected forests, according to a 2015 report on threatened species by the IUCN.
WWF also said that during the first six months of this year, rangers, local communities along with WWF staff cracked down on 33 cases of land encroachment involving a total area of 594 hectares, removing 102 illegally installed wooden poles, and confiscating five tractors and one excavator.
It said that law enforcement officers also cracked down on 36 cases of illegal logging, confiscating 23 pieces of timber and 11 chainsaws, and removed 278 snares and traps in the sanctuary.