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Environment Ministry to find water for wandering elephants

Khuon Narin / Khmer Times Share:
About 20 elephants migrated this week to find water. KT/Mai Vireak

Due to shortages of water and high temperatures in the Kingdom, the Environment Ministry has said that it will create new water sources for protected wildlife, such as elephants.

The ministry said that this week about 20 wild elephants migrated from Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Keo Seima district to a nearby village in order to find water.

Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said high temperatures have affected wildlife water sources, such as lakes and ponds, causing the migration of the elephants.

“Our environment officials are preparing to create water sources for elephants and other wildlife so that they can have water to drink,” Mr Pheaktra said.

He said that the ministry is concerned that the migration of wildlife from their protected areas could pose as an opportunity for poachers to strike.

“Our concern is poaching. We appeal to villagers to not touch or kill elephants,” Mr Pheaktra said, adding that the new water sources will help protect wildlife. “Do not use chemicals on crops that could affect migrating wildlife.”

He noted that park rangers will also do their part in the conservation of wildlife during the dry season by conducting more patrols as elephants migrate to find new water sources.

Keo Sopheak, director of the Mondulkiri provincial environmental department, said a total of 24 elephants migrated to Keo Seima district to look for water.

“There were 24 elephants that came out of the protected area to drink water,” Mr Sopheak said. “Four of the elephants came into contact with villagers, but no one was hurt.”

The province has seen a number of elephants killed by poachers in the past.

In February, park rangers from the provincial environment department found an elephant shot dead at a cashew plantation near the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary.

Mr Pheaktra at the time said the dead elephant was missing its tusks.

“Examination of the elephant’s body showed it was shot for its ivory,” he said. “The tusks were missing and its tail was cut off.

There was a gunshot wound on the elephant’s body.”

It has been estimated that there are 120 to 170 elephants in Mondulkiri.

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