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Rare gaur found dead in national park

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Offenders (not in picture) cut off a long strip of flesh from the gaur and took both horns from its head. Environment Ministry

Rare gaur found dead in national park

Rangers from O’Som headquarters in the South Cardamom Mountains National Park and Wildlife Alliance officials found meat which came from a rare gaur in the Phnom Kravanh section of the park in Pursat province, said a ranger on Wednesday.

O’Som headquarters patrol team leader Vay Sarim told The Post on Wednesday that his working group patrolled the forest for two days with environment rangers from Wildlife Alliance.

During the patrol, they found the meat in O’Som commune’s Chhay Louk village in Veal Veng district.

“Offenders cut off a long strip of meat from the gaur and took both horns from its head. Suspects left behind samples of meat, skin, skeleton, head, shins and internal parts. The items weighed 280 kg.

“We found traps made of bicycle brake cables attached to the gaur’s shins. It can be confirmed that the gaur was trapped by illegal hunters,” Sarim said.

He said the joint patrol force collected the meat and set it on fire at the scene. Now the rangers were searching for the identities of offenders to take legal action against them.

This was the second gaur that has been found killed over the last two months. In May, Prey Preah Roka Wildlife Sanctuary rangers found samples of a gaur about five years old. The gaur had been killed and its head was left behind at the wildlife sanctuary in Preah Vihear province.

Gaurs are a rare, threatened species. They were listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List in 1986. As of 2016, an estimated 21,000 gaurs live in India and Southeast Asia.

The number of gaurs has declined remarkably because of losses of shelter and poaching. Gaurs are mentioned in the first annexe of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), which regulates wildlife trade to ensure the survival of endangered species.

Ministry of Environment secretary of state and spokesman Neth Pheaktra called on all people to refrain from consuming wild animal meat. He told them not to believe that consuming it brings good health.

Pheaktra also expressed deep regret at the loss of the gaur and condemned the offenders for setting the trap. He also requested people to help the authorities identify the offenders which would allow police to take legal action.

“Snares and home-made rifles are hidden killers that wipe out wild animals every day. It is necessary to strengthen [patrols] and prevent poaching. These [hunting] tools have to be prohibited from going into natural protected areas,” he stressed.

Pheaktra said more than 10,000 snares had been removed from natural protected areas and more than 300 home-made rifles were seized in the first four months of this year.

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