Government’s protected landscape officials in Mondulkiri province awarded excellence in law enforcement
The award illustrates the importance of the work that protected area officials, rangers and WWF teams achieved on the ground in their mission against poaching of tiger, prey and other illegal activities.
In his speech to participants, His Excellency Heng Sam Nang, Deputy Governor of Mondulkiri province, said that this international award was making history because this was the first of its kind ever presented to the provincial enforcement unit.
“With this pride, the enforcement effort needs to continue stronger in order to provide security to the landscape’s significant animal species and protect them from wildlife trade,” he added.
Cambodia is among 13 tiger range countries worldwide. The Eastern Plains Landscape in Mondulkiri is one of the few tiger landscapes together with China, Indonesia, India and Nepal to be rewarded for Excellence for protection efforts.
Forestry Administration, Ministry of Environment and Police officials believe the award is a good motivation for all patrol members and will increase effectiveness in their enforcement action.
“We are very pleased to receive this award, which represents the values of every piece of our action on the ground,” said Mr Keo Sopheak, Forestry Administration’s Mondulkiri Protected Forest Manager.
Mr Samrangdy Vicheth, Ministry of Environment’s Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary Manager, said that the award honoured the enforcement effort by the Government in protected areas management and preservation of country’s wildlife heritage.
This awarding also excites the WWF’s Cambodian youth tiger ambassadors, who use this opportunity for raising awareness among other youth about the importance of tiger conservation. They have organized an online forum on facebook from 11th until 13th of December.
Ms Keang Seangly, one of the ambassadors, said that she was happy to continue to support global youth tiger actions and promote awareness about tiger among Cambodian young generations.
The Eastern Plains Landscape has the best potential for tiger recovery and prey restoration. Tiger experts say it has perhaps the highest potential in Asia to help tiger populations recover.
With technical support from WWF, a mobile enforcement team led by the Forestry Administration operates all over Mondulkiri province to stop the trade in wildlife and forest products. In addition, Forestry Administration and Ministry of Environment staff patrol regularly inside Mondulkiri Protected Forest and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary respectively.
“The high levels of law enforcement effort by nearly 60 rangers patrolling regularly inside and outside protected areas is a big deterrent for poachers,” said Ms Michelle Owen, Conservation Programme Manager with WWF-Cambodia. “However much more effort is needed in order to eradicate poaching in this critically important landscape,” she continued.
The Eastern Plains Landscape project
Through the Eastern Plains Landscape Project, WWF works with the Cambodian government to protect the vast dry forests landscape in the Eastern Plains and the globally significant wildlife it harbours. The project focuses on two conservation areas, Mondulkiri Protected Forest and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary, covering a total area of approximately 6,000km2. The project’s goal is to keep the last wilderness of Cambodia intact and connected, helping people protect their wildlife while sustaining livelihoods.
Tiger Alive Initiative
The WWF’s Tigers Alive Initiative was established with the aim to stop the decline of the wild tiger and help create and support the conditions to double the global number of tigers in the wild in the next 12 years. It operates in 12 of the 13 tiger range countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Please follow this following link to the online forum live from 11-13 December 2011 http://www.facebook.com/groups/tigeractivist/
This award story was covered by the Vayo FM, a popular radio in Cambodia. Please fast forward to 12m05s for the enforcement news.