The Ministry of Environment on Monday expressed regret that another banteng had died while trapped in a snare at the Sorng Rukhavorn Wildlife Sanctuary in Oddar Meanchey province, while a gaur was also found dead at the Prey Preah Roka Wildlife Sanctuary in Preah Vihear province’s Choam Ksan district.
Ministry spokesperson Neth Pheaktra said the banteng was found on Sunday and succumbed to injuries before rangers and local people could rescue it. It was then taken to the compound of Venerable monk Bun Saluth for a burial.
“This bateng is very pitiful. The environment ministry truly regrets the loss of this rare animal due to heatless poachers. The tears we saw on its face may have been due to the wounds inflicted by the snare. The banteng became very weak due to starvation for many days,” he said.
Last year, forest rangers from the ministry and local communities in cooperation with other partner organisations removed 20,000 traps from all 60 protected areas that are under the ministry’s jurisdiction.
Banteng, a type of wild cattle native to Southeast Asia, are classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as endangered.
Last month, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) biodiversity researchers spotted a herd of banteng including a juvenile and a majestic bull while conducting a wildlife survey in Mondulkiri province’s Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary.
Saluth, the head of the Sorng Rukhavorn community forest, said there remains a lack of cooperation in protecting endangered animals despite repeated efforts to educate the public about natural resource protection and wildlife conservation.
He said some people continue illegal logging, burning the forest and hunting animals which he said badly affect the sustainability of biodiversity in the Kingdom.
“I called on everyone to protect and conserve natural resources in those areas because the Sorng Rukhavorn Wildlife Sanctuary and other protected areas provide a great number of forest products including tree resin, vines, mushroom, vegetables and fruits for the locals to support their livelihoods.
“More importantly, we must protect endangered animals instead of killing them,” he said.
In a separate case in Preah Vihear province, forest rangers from the environment ministry found a five-year-old gaur that had been beheaded at the Prey Preah Roka Wildlife Sanctuary in Choam Ksan district’s Morokot commune while patrolling forest from Thursday to Saturday.
Sanctuary head Bun Soeung on Monday said the gaur was killed days before it was found. He said officials are working to identify the perpetrators, who cut off its head and took away the meat.
“I think the offender committed the offence at night, knowing we regularly patrol at daytime. This is the first such case in the Prey Preah Roka Wildlife Sanctuary,” he said.
Pheaktra said so far this year, four bateng have been found dead – two due to trapping in Kampong Speu province while the other two were shot dead in Mondulkiri.