WWF enforcement team cracks down on wildlife crimes in Mondulkiri province
This success follows several crackdowns on illegal logging in the beginning of the month when the patrolling teams of Namram and Trapeag Thmear in Mondulkiri Protected Forest confiscated seven chain saws from four villages in the protected area.
“Cutting trees inside the protected area is a crime under the Forestry Law of Cambodia, and we issued warning letters to the chainsaw owners,” said Mr Keo Sopheak, Manager of Mondulkiri Protected Forest. This is part of the legal procedure, where first-time offenders face non-jurisdictional punishment and are given warning letters to scare them from repeating their offence. Criminals caught for the second time risk serious penalties of jail and/or fines.
Besides the chainsaws, rangers also confiscated large amounts of rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchiensis, locally known as Kro nhoung). This luxury wood can fetch up to several thousand US$ per cubic metre on international markets – prices that unfortunately continue to motivate illegal loggers in the area.
The recent confiscations reflect the effective effort of the enforcement team in Mondulkiri Protected Forest. At the same time, they also demonstrate an increase in illegal activities that puts pressure on one of the last remaining dry forest habitats for tiger in Cambodia.
“Our team is working hard but we need to take more action against illegal activities. We have started vehicle checks at different points around the protected areas to monitor trade routes”, Mr Sopheak said. “We are also expanding our informant network. This will surely help us in curbing illegal wild meat trade in the area.”
Illegal logging as well as selling and buying of wild meat are punishable offences and can be charged under the Forestry Law of Cambodia. If you see or hear of any such misdoings, contact WWF’s Wildlife Crime Hotline Number at 012404143. It will be a small step for you but a large step for the animal kingdom.