Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Men claim tiger sighting in Pursat province, experts unconvinced

Men claim tiger sighting in Pursat province, experts unconvinced

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An Indochinese tiger in Mondulkiri province in 2007. This is the most recent photo taken of a tiger in Cambodia. Men in Pursat province claim to have seen a tiger on Wednesday. WWF Cambodia

Men claim tiger sighting in Pursat province, experts unconvinced

Five men in Roleab village in Pursat province reported having spotted a tiger at a cashew plantation on Thursday, although experts believe the animal was actually a leopard after examining a piece of a tree branch it had bitten, officials said on Thursday.

Un Ho, police chief in Roleab commune, said plantation owner Sos Brohim and four of his workers claimed to have seen the tiger at the plantation. Experts, however, remained unconvinced of the report.

“However, according to Sos Brohim [he] discovered the rare animal with his own eyes [on Thurday]; the animal that he had seen was a tiger,” he said.

Chea Bunly, director of the Pursat town Forestry Administration, said when experts showed photos of wild cats to Brohim, he pointed to a tiger as the animal he had seen. But Pursat Forestry Administration officials believe the cat was a leopard based on the bite marks examined on Thursday.

Bunly urged the villagers to be careful with the leopard.

Brohim describe the animal as having black and yellow stripes, and as having “roared terribly”. He maintained the group had seen a tiger. “We really saw the tiger and I hid at the hill near a stream and there is dense grass and thatch.”

The last confirmed tiger sighting in Cambodia was in 2007, when one was captured on film by a camera trap in the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province, according to Seng Teak, country director for the World Wildlife Fund Cambodia. In 2014, a man from Pursat also reported having been attacked by a tiger, though the animal was found to be a sun bear.

“Other cat species live in the forests of Cambodia including leopard, clouded leopard, golden cat, marbled cat and fishing cat,” he said in an email. “All these cat species including tiger in local term [are] called ‘Kla’.”

The animal spotted could have been any of those other wild cats, he said.

Ken Sereyrotha, country director for the Wildlife Conservation Society, said Cambodia hasn’t had a “sign of existence of this species for years”. He said he also believed the animal to be a leopard.

Keo Omalis, deputy director of Forestry Administration, said the government has “never” acknowledged tigers are extinct in Cambodia. An ongoing plan to reintroduce tigers into the country is needed simply because there are not enough tigers now, he claimed.

Teak said WWF is working with the government to address threats and secure the Eastern Plains landscape to “reintroduce wild tigers”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’