Endangered banteng dies in trap in Kampong Speu

Rescuers attempt to disentangle a snared endangered banteng in Kampong Speu province on Saturday. The animal died of its wounds before the rescue was completed. Wildlife Alliance
Rescuers attempt to disentangle a snared endangered banteng in Kampong Speu province on Saturday. The animal died of its wounds before the rescue was completed. Wildlife Alliance

An endangered banteng died of wounds inflicted by a hunter’s snare on Saturday as an attempt to rescue it was mounted weeks after it was first spotted injured in a Kampong Speu community forest.

A patrol team in the Bram Beymom Community forest in Thpong district spotted the protected one-tonne bull with both forelegs trapped in a snare on March 24, said community patrol chief Soeun Lay.

“We found its blood on leaves and followed it … it was snared by both its front legs,” he said.

The find occurred just two days after a group of eight armed hunters killed a banteng. Only one suspect, Military Police officer SouSina, 38, was arrested and charged. Lay said the shooting of the banteng had made the community, which is unarmed, wary of patrolling.

According to Lay, the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Takeo Province was alerted to the ensnared banteng the same day it was found, but help did not arrive until two weeks later, on the night of April 6. An attempt to medicate the animal after it was sedated and captured was made, but it ultimately died on Saturday morning.

“Its legs were terribly swollen … It lost much blood and became weak,” he said.

Nhek Ratanakpich, head of the centre, declined to comment. Wildlife Alliance’s Nick Marx said the group cannot use a dart gun to sedate animals without permission, which can take time to obtain, and in this case never formally came through.

Forestry Administration spokesman Keo Omaliss maintained WA was given permission, but could not recall when it was given, before insisting that the FA is “never careless”.

For Marx, the banteng’s death is illustrative of the nationwide issue of snares in the forest.

“If the issue of snares isn’t addressed, it’s not just banteng but everything else that’s going to be wiped out,” he said.

In February and March 174 snares were removed from the 900 hectare community forest, but more remain. Since 2013, 15 bantengs have been killed in the forest, which is home to an estimated population of 50.

Additional reporting Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon