Kratie Zero-Snaring Campaign Launched

Zero-Snaring Campaign in Kratie province was launched on June 18 in the provincial city with the aim to eradicate the use of snares to capture wildlife in all of Cambodia's protected areas in order to prevent the extinction of wildlife in Cambodia.

The launching ceremony was jointly organised by the Ministry of Environment (MOE), Kratie Provincial Department of Environment, Kratie Provincial Administration, Conservation International-Cambodia, USAID Greening Prey Lang (GPL), WWF, Wildlife Conservation Society, Wild Earth Allies and Nature Life Cambodia.

This is the fourth event in a series of eight following the first one organised by MOE in Phnom Penh last March, the second by WWF and the third campaign was recently completed by WCS in collaboration with Preah Vihear Provincial Department of Environment, CI, and USAID-GPL in Preah Vihear last May, said a joint press release.

The main purpose of the Zero-Snaring Campaign is to inform the public of the threats caused by snaring, highlight the importance of effective law enforcement within protected areas, reduce demand for wildlife meat consumption, and increase collaboration with line-departments at the provincial level to combat snaring and illegal wildlife trafficking.

"Ministry of Environment highly appreciate the joint efforts by all collaborative partners for the previously conducted provincial rallies in Stung Treng and Preah Vihear provinces, which have indeed sparked the public and stakeholders' attention and interest in learning more the campaign, while some have already started to help spread the word about it," said H.E. Neth Pheaktra, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Environment. "Building on this momentum, may the spirit and value of the Zero Snaring campaign be remembered and embraced by all Cambodian people and stakeholders to encourage more collective actions toward achieving zero-snaring in Cambodia's protected areas, eradicating all forms of poaching and ending the illegal wildlife trade.".

By reiterating the campaign's calls on people to stop consuming wild meat and all other wildlife products, H.E. Neth Pheaktra urged all individuals across Cambodia to say no to buying/selling and consumption of bushmeat, and encouraged their participation in protecting the Kingdom's wildlife and natural resources in support of building better local economies especially through the development of ecotourism and for the benefit of ecosystems in Cambodia and the world.

"The data is clear, the use of snares to capture wildlife in forests risks Cambodia's forests becoming empty of wildlife," said Mr. Seng Bunra, Senior Technical Manager at Conservation International. "The only way that this can be stopped is if there is no market demand for wildlife."

In the face of the snaring crisis that is decimating Cambodia's wildlife indiscriminately, he added, everyone has a role in ensuring the zero-snaring in protected areas, community forests and other natural habitats with wildlife presence, especially through strengthened legislation, increased law enforcement.

In parallel, concerted actions are urgently needed to stop the demand for wildlife meat and products through a ban on the purchase, sale, transport and consumption of wildlife, putting an end to all forms of wildlife trafficking and saving our treasure troves of wildlife from future extinction," said Mr. Seng Teak, WWF-Cambodia Country Director.

"The Zero-snaring Campaign is a call for all members of the public to change their behaviour to end the consumption and trafficking of wildlife. It is also important to finally halt the illegal fishing practices that are not only threatening fish stocks, but also many globally threatened species including Asian giant softshell turtle, Irrawaddy dolphin, and Mekong giant stingray," said Mr. Som Sitha, WCS Landscape Project Manager.

"Cambodia is a biodiversity hotspot. However, Cambodian biodiversity is under pressure from the threat of snaring," said Mr. Tuy Sereivathana, Programme Director of Wild Earth Allies Cambodia. "This drastic loss in biodiversity leads to a reduction of the functioning of the forest ecosystem as animals such as elephants play a key role in ecosystem processes. This is why I fully support this campaign and call for a stop in hunting and the trade of wildlife."

"NatureLife has supported the rangers and local communities to remove and confiscate the snares from the forest, at the same time, we request the authorities to crackdown the illegal wild meat selling in the markets and restaurants, our wildlife can be saved by working together!" said Mr. Bou Vorsak, CEO of NatureLife Cambodia.

"All in all, empowering people, specifically communities, to participate in the joint effort is essential to end the snaring and illegal wildlife trafficking," said Ms. Hou Kalyan, Director, RECOFTC Cambodia. "This can be done through improving livelihoods, strengthening capacity on rights, law and regulation on natural resource, and awareness raising, as what we did today."

The Ministry of Environment and partners also work together to provide alternative livelihoods, including agricultural, agroforestry and ecotourism initiatives, to the local people living adjacent to protected areas who are traditionally dependent on collecting non-timber forest products, traditional hunting for meat and trade. The effort will also seek to transform people's preference and attitude in wildlife consumption in order to protect public health from future pandemic risks.

On Mar. 3, 2022, a coalition of government ministries and international conservation organisations together launched the Zero-Snaring in Cambodia's Protected Areas campaign and collectively pledged to take actions toward ending the snaring crisis and illegal wildlife trade in Cambodia. The provincial events will last six months and take place in Stung Treng, Preah Vihear, Kratie, Mondulkiri, Kampong Thom and Rattanakiri provinces.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press