Training aims to upskill Cambodian, Thai rangers

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The ranger training encompasses four main topics, including map and compass reading, and operating a Global Positioning System (GPS) device. Photo supplied

A delegation of Cambodian forest rangers and their Thai counterparts are taking part in a ranger training course aimed at strengthening cross-border cooperation on the management of biodiversity conservation in protected areas.

Organised by Bangkok-based Freeland Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that supports the rangers in their fight against poaching, the course has been running since August 5 and will conclude on Friday.

It is held in the Ta Phraya National Park in southeastern Thailand – part of a Unesco world heritage site – and is attended by 23 Cambodian rangers and 15 from Thailand respectively.

During the 11-day training, 20 Ministry of Environment rangers from Oddar Meanchey, Banteay Meanchey and Battambang provinces, a Conservation International officer from Prey Lang and two chief rangers exchanged views and experiences with their Thai counterparts.

Speaking to The Post on Monday, Chan Socheat, a chief ranger with 14 years’ experience in patrolling the Kingdom’s forests and a participant, said the training encompasses four main topics, including basic survival skills during patrol and self-defence techniques.

Other topics, he said, include techniques to catch the forestry crime offenders, map and compass reading, and operating a Global Positioning System (GPS) device.

“Some of the rangers did not know how to read a compass or GPS. Therefore, the chiefs taught them the technical skills so that they wouldn’t get lost in the forest while on patrol.

“They will also learn how to pitch a tent and defend themselves from any threat posed by offenders. For example, when faced by armed offenders, the rangers need to know how to deal effectively with them,” he said.

Socheat said Freeland had invited the Cambodian delegation so that they could work together with their Thai counterparts to preserve the natural resources in protected areas that span across the two countries’ border.

He said the NGO had also organised similar training between 2012 and 2015 in Thailand.

The director of the Battambang provincial environment department, Kort Boran, said three rangers represented his province in the programme this year.

He said other rangers who had attended previous training have been promoted and been able to pass on their knowledge on to recruits.

“According to the report that I received from my rangers who are currently in Thailand, the training provides them with a lot of applicable knowledge,” Boran said.

Battambang, one of seven provinces bordering Thailand, has two protected areas that extend beyond the frontier – the Samlot Protected Area and Phnom Samkok Wildlife Sanctuary.

The jungles of Ta Phraya National Park in Thailand’s Buriram province are home to sun bears, crocodiles, elephants and precious rosewood trees.