Monday, March 1, 2010

Number of Elephants Increase in Cambodia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Due to peace, wildlife conservations and forests protection, the number of elephants have been increasing in Cambodia. This announcement was revealed by Phan Somany, Wildlife Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (MoAFF).

Somany said that many elephants have been seen in Battambang, Pursat, Koh Kong, Kampong Speu, Sihanouk, Rattakanakiri and Mondulkiri provinces in Cambodia, and we now need to make protection and conservation for these provinces.

According to the ministry’s estimation, about 200 elephants have appeared in these provinces. They are now living around mountains and thick forests in the protected and conservational areas in Cambodia.

“I noted that so far many elephants and other wild animals increased because of the peace and forests conservation in Cambodia. During Cambodia’s civil wars, they fled Cambodia into our neighboring countries and now they returned to live at their old places,” he said during an interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly.

Sok Ratana, Elephant Conservation Officer of the Wild Aids, said that according to his organization’s research, there are about 175 elephants living at mountain areas located in Battambang, Pursat, Kampong Speu, Koh Kong and Sihanouk provinces in Cambodia.

Ratana stated that these amount of the elephants did not include those elephants that have previously stayed in these areas in Cambodia. He stated that the places where they now are appearing mostly are located in Chy Phat, Arenh,Veal Ta Phou and Botum Sakor areas situated along the Phnom Kravanh’s areas in Pursat province.

According to recent research, the elephants in Cambodia originated from the Asian elephants. They always inhabited different places in deep forests laying from Kratie to Preah Vihear provinces and other mountain areas throughout the country.

Phan Somany said that the elephant is one amongst the endangered wildlife, which would be preserved and protected in Cambodia. He stated that to protect them from being killed, the Cambodian government has issued a sub-decree and is taking action to preserve them for the next generating people.

According to a ministry’s report and research, Somany said that there were thousands of elephants in Cambodia in 1960s and 1970s. However, due to the civil wars and illegal hunting activities, most of them were killed and others fled from Cambodia to live in neighboring countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Burma. ///

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