Some 30 animals, including rare and endangered birds, have been handed over to Wildlife Alliance to be released into their natural habitats after they were confiscated in a raid on Wednesday in Kratie province’s Sambor district, officials said on Thursday.
Following a tip-off, the bust was carried out by a joint task force made up of the O’Krieng Forestry Administration and Military Police from Security Base Number 710.
Military Police officer Chuob Savuth told The Post on Thursday that at around 9:30am on Wednesday, his working team received a report seeking intervention from the O’Krieng Forestry Administration.
He said the informant who supplied the tip-off claimed to have seen a vehicle illegally trafficking wildlife in the O’Krieng area.
Savuth said that 15 minutes after receiving the information, his team sighted a suspicious silver-coloured Toyota Camry driving along National Road 7A.
“After spotting the car, the police put a barricade across the road to intercept the vehicle. The car was forced to stop, but its driver and a passenger escaped into a nearby village."
“During an inspection of the vehicle, Forestry Administration officials found 30 live animals inside, including eight common palm civets [also known as Asian palm civets] weighing a total of 17kg, and 22 birds of unknown species,” he said.
O’Krieng Forestry Administration director Keo Chamnan confirmed to The Post that there were a total of 22 birds and that the administration had identified them as 20 changeable hawk-eagles – also known as crested hawk-eagles – and two black eagles.
“These species of birdlife are rare and are threatened almost to the point of extinction. They are listed in Appendix II of the treaty of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora [CITES],” Chamnan said.
He said on Wednesday that the animals were handed over to Wildlife Alliance to be released into their natural forest habitats near Kulen Mountain in Siem Reap province.
The vehicle, Chamman said, was confiscated and impounded at the O’Krieng Forestry Administration. It will be submitted as court evidence in accordance with legal procedures.