Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang on May 9 celebrated the launch of the Ministry of Environment’s Zero-Snaring Campaign Phase II.

He urged provincial environmental and forestry officials to enforce all forest and environmental laws, with no exceptions, noting that traps and snares present a danger not just to wild animals, but to patrolling rangers and those who depend on the forests for their living.

Samnang said the use of such traps demonstrates malicious intent, noting that in some places, people lay hundreds of metres of live electrical cable, with the idea that the shock will kill any wildlife that come into contact with it.

“These individuals must be restrained if they are apprehended. Forestry, environmental and natural resource laws must all be rigidly enforced. Their actions kill animals, and innocent people sometime perish from these devices. This kind of activity is morally repugnant,” he added.

He explained that while most people are sleeping, Forestry Administration (FA) officials and park rangers are patrolling the forest, valleys and streams.

“Some villagers seem to think that officials are not committed to preventing forest and wildlife offences,” he said.

He assured the assembled guests that the rangers and FA officials were actively patrolling every day, and were always prepared to take action against any form of forest crime.

“Let any member of the public who doubts this change their behaviour from degrading their efforts to participating. If anyone sees trappers of wildlife traders, they should let the authorities know as soon as possible. Prompt action will be taken,” he said.

Oum Sony, representative of Conservation International (CI) Cambodia, said the use of traps poses a serious threat to the country’s wildlife, especially in the Cardamom Mountains.

“These traps are silent killers. We cannot allow this to continue. We are developing the REDD+ Central Cardamom Reforestation Project, which works with local communities and law enforcement to prevent wildlife trapping,” he added.

He continued that everyone can participate in driving change by raising awareness and sharing the impact of trapping on wildlife, supporting conservation efforts and advocating for stricter law enforcement against the trafficking and consumption of wildlife.

Neth Pheaktra, environment ministry secretary of state and chairman of the Zero-Snaring Campaign, noted that Kampong Speu remains a high-risk area for the bush meat trade, whether in markets or restaurants. He said that although wildlife dishes were rarely seen on menus, there were still vendors who would offer game such as boar or lesser mouse deer to their customers.

He added that the campaign will educate people about the risks of consuming bush meat, and seeks to affect behavioural change among those who sell or consume it.

“We are on the verge of achieving zero snaring in the Kingdom’s protected areas, so we call on all members of the public to stop eating bush meat and join us in protecting and conserving Cambodia’s natural resources together,” he said.