More than 30 live palm civets—nocturnal forest mammals also known as toddy cats—were found on Wednesday in a cage in Kandal province’s Koh Thom district near the Chrey Thom International Checkpoint between Cambodia and Vietnam, officials said.
Officers at the checkpoint were tipped off by an informant when a vehicle dropped off the cage near a local resident’s house along the Tonle Bassac river and immediately left the area, said Muong Dara, the checkpoint’s chief of customs.
“My spy told me the place, and I went to confiscate the wildlife,” Mr. Dara said, adding that no one was arrested as the smuggler had fled before he arrived.
The illegally captured civets were most likely awaiting a boat pickup and were to be smuggled into Vietnam, he said.
After confiscating the 35 animals, the customs office processed the case overnight and handed the civets over to Wildlife Alliance on Thursday morning, he said.
The animal conservation NGO typically releases endangered creatures back into the wild or places them in wildlife rescue centers.