By Mengey Eng
| January 21, 2018
Mondulkiri (22 January 2018) - Over 500 snares and 80 chainsaws confiscated in 2017 by community patrol teams, led by Ministry of Environment’s (MoE) officials with members from local communities, show the commitment of local people to crack down on illegal activity that degrades their legally owned land, kills Seima’s rare wildlife, and causes conflict within communities. More efforts are needed to safeguard the sanctuary’s forests and wildlife into the future.
The community patrol teams, with support from WCS, have actively patrolled in KSWS to prevent forest and wildlife crimes. In 2017, they patrolled 52 times, spending a total of over 150 days staying in the forest. As a result, they arrested seven offenders, issued 57 warning letters to those whose committed illegal activities in KSWS, and seized many pieces of equipment, such as 86 chainsaws, 513 snares, six homemade guns, 72 machetes and axes, and 17 motorbikes.
“With their commitment and efforts, the community patrol teams, with at least 15 members for each patrol from nine villages, always go to patrol to prevent forest and wildlife crimes in KSWS. Despite facing challenges, such as travelling to deep forest, staying in forest for long days, transportation during rainy season, and personal security, they still perform their patrolling role very well because they know the importance of protecting forests and wildlife in KSWS,” said Em Try, Community Patrol Team Leader in KSWS.
“More local communities are now volunteering to join our patrolling team because they are aware of importance of forests and wildlife conservation. We suggest local authorities and communities to join in patrolling activities to increase effectiveness of forests and wildlife protection in KSWS. Everyone can also support us by donating patrolling equipment, such as clothing, boots, and hammocks that will allow our team to patrol in the forest,” he added.
Situated in Kratie and Mondulkiri Provinces, KSWS is home to over 60 flora and fauna species listed as threatened on the IUCN Red List. KSWS is of international importance for the conservation of primates (including the world’s largest known populations of Black-shanked Douc Langur and a large population of Southern Yellow-cheeked Crested Gibbon), various species of wildcat, Asian Elephant, Gaur, Banteng and several species of bird including Green Peafowl.
“With budget from KSWS’s carbon credit sales and from other donors, WCS and MoE have provided the community patrolling team with human, technical and financial resources allowing them to accomplish the goal and commitment in conserving KSWS’s forests and wildlife. This is also the primary goal of MoE and WCS in conserving KSWS for over the past 15 years,” said Tan Setha, WCS’s Technical Advisor to KSWS.
“We appreciate their hard working and efforts as it has played a key role in protecting KSWS’s forests and wildlife,” he added.
Effective management of KSWS would not be possible without the support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Fonds Français pour l'Environnement Mondial (FFEM), and European Union (EU).