Cambodia Joins Global Race To Save Endangered Tigers

A delegation from Cambodia will travel to Russia this weekend to participate in a global initiative aimed at saving the world’s rapidly diminishing tiger population, officials said yesterday.

Coinciding with the Chinese Year of the Tiger, the meeting re­pre­sents a concerted international effort by the 13 countries that have traditionally played host to wild tigers.

A group led by Forestry Asso­ciation Director-General Chhang Kimsun will attend the Interna­tional Forum on Tiger Conserva­tion—to be chaired by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin—in St Petersburg from Sunday to Wednesday, Forestry Administra­tion spokesman Thun Sarath said.

China, India, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam and Burma are among the nations that plan to sign a declaration affirming their commitment to double the global tiger population by the time the Year of the Tiger comes around again in 2022, according to the summit’s website.                         Cambodia will establish a protected tiger habitat of at least 15,000 square meters, according to Kry Masphal, senior officer at the Forestry Administration’s department of wildlife and biodiversity.

“The goal is to raise the tiger population in Cambodia. But before getting to that point we need to ensure that the habitat is secure,” he said in a recent interview.

The habitat will probably be located in the Eastern Plains re­gion, which currently contains five conservation sites, including the Mondolkiri Protected Forest area, Mr Masphal said.

Fifty rangers will be trained to protect the area, and authorities aim to strengthen cross-border cooperation in an attempt to cut out poaching, he added.

Authorities hope Cambodia’s remaining tigers will be attracted to the area by abundant prey, Mr Masphal said, adding that it might eventually be possible to bring in tigers from countries that do not have suitable habitats.

While estimates of tiger numbers in Cambodia vary, experts agree there is no breeding population, he added.

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