Hunt on for poachers who shot rare sambar with homemade gun

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A sambar deer died after being shot with an improvised firearm by a poacher in Preah Vihear’s Prey Preah Roka Wildlife Sanctuary on Wednesday. Ministry of Environment

A sambar deer weighing around 200kg died on a villager’s property after being shot with an improvised firearm by a poacher in Preah Vihear’s Prey Preah Roka Wildlife Sanctuary on Wednesday.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on Thursday that a hunt was on to find the perpetrators.

He said the sambar that died in Brame commune’s Boss Thom village was the third of the Asian deer species to have been killed in the province in the past two months.

The sambar is categorised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “vulnerable”.

“We have now lost three sambars in two months in Preah Vihear province. Each one weighed around 200kg. One sambar died after being hit by a car, while the others were killed by hunters,” Pheaktra said.

Pheaktra urged police to strengthen law enforcement measures against those who hunted wildlife.

He said people living in protected nature areas were still using illegal homemade rifles and traps to hunt wild animals. All doing so will be held accountable under the law, he said.

“The sambar’s carcass will be transported to Siem Reap province for research to be carried out. It will then be put on display,” Pheaktra said.

Brame commune police chief Khul Y said the sambar did not die immediately after being shot and ran into a village, where it collapsed in agony in a resident’s backyard.

Villagers alerted environmental officials to the discovery. The sambar eventually succumbed to its injuries about an hour later.

Specialist environmental officials found numerous improvised bullets in the animal’s body and legs.

“The environmental officials transported the sambar’s carcass to a museum in Siem Reap province. Police are searching for the despicable individuals who have killed sambars.

“However, Prey Preah Roka Wildlife Sanctuary is very large, and it is difficult for the police to find villagers who make and keep homemade rifles,” Y said.