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Rare species seen in Kampong Speu preserve

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An Asian elephant in Phnom Oral sanctuary spanning Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang and Pursat provinces. Environment Ministry

Rare species seen in Kampong Speu preserve

As Cambodia marked National and World Environment Day celebrations on June 5, the Ministry of Environment announced sightings of some rare animals in Cambodia’s forests through the use of automatic cameras.

This year’s World Environment Day was observed with the theme “Biodiversity and Human Health”.

The ministry said cameras placed in Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary in Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang and Pursat provinces have revealed the ongoing presence of many rare species.

According to the ministry’s spokesman Neth Pheaktra, some of the animals caught on camera included elephants, clouded leopards, bears and deer.

Pheaktra said the images were captured from May 29 to June 4 after months of preparation, adding that besides those animals there were rare, endangered and threatened species such as banteng, monkeys, leopards, yellow tigers and golden pigs.

Pheaktra said some of the most endangered and threatened wildlife, such as Asian elephants and clouded leopards, were also photographed walking in herds or with young offspring.

“The sighting of rare wildlife in our sanctuaries is the best news for Cambodia, especially one day ahead of celebrations for Environment Day, which this year focuses on the restoration of ecosystems,” he said.

He said that for the study, experts installed 85 cameras to investigate the presence or absence of endangered and threatened species, and assess the status and distribution of important wildlife.

Cameras were installed in key areas for wildlife such as lowlands, floodplains, lakes, ponds and wildlife trails and kept in place for six months – three months in the dry season and another three months in the rainy season.

According to Pheaktra, the Phnom Oral sanctuary was selected because it is covered by a variety of forest and grassland types that include rivers and streams, which makes for excellent habitat for wildlife.

Pheaktra called on all people to stop eating bush meat, using wildlife products and trading in wildlife – activities which he said can also pose a risk to people’s health – and to instead preserve Cambodia’s natural resources and biodiversity for future generations.

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