Camera trap catches wild buffalo in Cambodia
Camera traps set up in the wilderness area recently recorded a series of photos of the critically endangered wild water buffalo. The images are the first since a single photo was taken in 2001 by a joint survey conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Cat Action Treasury.
The recent photos reveal at least three adults – three sub-adults and one calf – indicating that there is hope for recruitment in the population, despite a standing bounty on buffalo horns where they can fetch as much as US$2,000 at wildlife trade markets in Vietnam.
The wild water buffaloes in Srepok comprise the last remaining population in all of Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and eastern Thailand. Although the situation is serious in terms of population numbers, it is believed that the resident population – estimated at 30-50 animals – now at least stands a chance of survival.
Future work will include further strengthening the protection of the animals and intensifying monitoring at the site where the buffalo were caught on film. Additionally, efforts will be made to obtain dung and hair samples so that DNA analysis can determine whether this population has any relation to nearby domestic buffalo stock.
Camera traps have also confirmed that the Srepok Wilderness Area harbours several other threatened species of which only tracks and dung have been found. This includes: gaur, banteng, Eld's deer, leopard, dhole, and Asiatic jackal.
Some species not yet photographed, but are known to exist in the area include tiger, Asian elephant, Siamese crocodile, and Malayan sun bear.