28th October 2016 - Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), announced today the completion of a training course for twenty government staff members, including protected area directors, law enforcement team leaders and advisors on law enforcement in Tbeng Meanchey, Preah Vihear Province, as part of its support to counter-wildlife trafficking work in Cambodia. The course was funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).
“After this training course our enforcement teams have new skills to deal with the growing threat of wildlife trafficking,” said trainee Mr Sun Kong, Park Director of Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary. “By sharing experiences from throughout Cambodia and internationally, I now have a better understanding of what I have to do as a manager to stop this threat to Cambodia’s natural resources”
"This is the first in a series of trainings for government agencies that will strengthen the ability of law enforcement officials to prevent and respond to wildlife crime," said WCS Technical Advisor Sarah Brook. "Working in partnership with government agencies to build capacity and provide technical assistance is a key part of the strategy to combat wildlife trafficking in Cambodia".
In recent years Cambodia's role as a transit country in the illegal trafficking of wildlife has become increasingly apparent, with two large scale seizures (>500kg) of African elephant ivory made at Sihanoukville sea port, and a number of smaller scale African rhino horn seizures made by authorities at Phnom Penh International Airport.
Additionally, rampant domestic and cross-border trade in wildlife with Vietnam and Thailand have fuelled an increase in the rates of hunting inside Cambodian protected areas, including in remote regions where hunting was not formerly a problem.
"In the last two years we have seen a big increase in the frequency of snaring in protected areas with hundreds of snares being set to catch any and all wild animals, as well the introduction of much more dangerous hunting methods like electrocution" said Tan Setha, former Director of Preah Vihear Protected Forest and currently Landscape Technical Advisor for the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary. "These unsustainable practices are causing big problems for Cambodia's iconic and threatened species that are already extremely rare, like the Banteng, Eld's Deer and Leopard"..
This week's training course has been designed to provide law enforcement staff with key skills that will help them to detect and suppress wildlife crimes. The course covered such as operational planning, risk management, crime scene investigation and gathering and management of information.
Training was provided by Mr Salvatore Amato, an independent consultant from the USA with 27 years of experience in wildlife law enforcement and protection.