Officials Hunting Poachers

A gang of elephant poachers may have moved from Pursat province to Kompong Speu or Koh Kong provinces as conservationists try to track them down, provincial officials said Thursday.

Officials sent into the jungle to hunt down 12 armed poachers have not found them, Pur­sat Gov­ernor Ung Samy said. Of­ficials be­gan tracking the group after they allegedly killed two elephants for their tusks in Veal Veng district.

Authorities have not ruled out the possibility the gang is still in Pursat province, Ung Samy said. Authorities’ efforts have been hampered by the weather.

“The terrain is quite rough, extensive and thick with forest, and it’s hard to search for the elephant poachers,” Ung Samy said.

But the search has not been a complete waste, military police officer Eng Peo Tith said. He heads the military police wildlife task force, and said his officers have already confiscated five pythons and released the snakes into the dense forest. The group also confiscated several skins of pythons and sun bears, he said.

The task force also stopped a former soldier who killed a wild boar, confiscated the man’s assault rifle and warned him not to hunt wild animals, Eng Peo Tith said.

The task force has been hampered by heavy rain, and its truck could not reach areas in the forest, Eng Peo Tith said.

According to the government’s bi­annual report, wildlife officials have confiscated 452 heads of animals and 452 kg of poached wild animals, including snakes, ant­eaters, turtles, wild boars and deer.

Poaching also has occurred in several wildlife sanctuaries in the 23 parks and protected areas un­der the supervision of the Ministry of Environment, the report stated.



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