BirdLife pilots buffalo breeding project to cut down on hunting

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New project provides female buffalo to farmers for breeding. BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL

BirdLife International Cambodia is testing a new buffalo breeding project by giving farmers female buffalo to breed as an alternative to hunting.

The project aims to put an end to hunting in the Boeung Prek Lpov Protected Landscape in Takeo province’s Koh Andet and Borei Cholsar districts and encourage the locals to protect birds and re-enrich the area.

BirdLife Programme Manager Bou Vorsak told The Post on November 19 the organisation took the first step by giving five female buffalo to a farming family in the protected area. The goal, he said, is to improve community life and protect cranes.

He said breeding buffalo could reduce land encroachment and the threat on natural resources.

Vorsak said the plan will benefit residents by providing more income to support their families. Buffaloes also play an important role in reducing plant density, making the grasses more suitable as shelters for cranes.

“Farmers who agreed to the trial will receive five female buffaloes to use for three years. They will get 60 per cent from the plan and the organisation will get the remaining 40 per cent to boost the project’s numbers,” said Vorsak.

If the plan is successful, he said the organisation will increase the number of buffalo it provides. Donors who are interested in this project are welcomed to contribute, he said.

Eam Sokhan, a 46-year-old farmer in Borei Cholsar district’s Chey Chork commune said his family had signed up and received five female buffalo to raise.

If the five buffalo produce offspring within three years, he will retain 60 per cent of the offspring.

“I have never worked with any institutions in the past. I do farming as normal and I hunted animals when the rice season ended but now I conserve animals in the community. This makes me stop hunting.

“Every weekend I patrol to protect birds in our area. I call for people to stop shooting wild animals and turn to conservation,” Sokhan said.