Villagers urged to stop using pesticides in sanctuaries

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Birdlife International says pesticides causes catastrophic damage to wildlife, biodiversity and the environment. BirdLife International

BirdLife International Cambodia has called on people living near wildlife sanctuaries to stop using pesticides to assist in the protection and conservation of wildlife, biodiversity and natural resources in the country.

The call comes after research patrols in some wildlife sanctuaries and protected landscapes in northeastern and southwestern Cambodia recently discovered a case of pesticides being used to illegally catch wildlife.

BirdLife programme manager Bou Vorsak said: “The use of pesticides in wildlife sanctuaries and protected landscapes causes catastrophic damage to wildlife, biodiversity, natural resources and the environment.

“We require all stakeholders, especially local communities, to immediately stop using agriculture pesticides in protected and conservation areas.”

Last week, Boeung Prek Lapouv protected landscape ranger teams collaborated with BirdLife’s conservation expert team to patrol the area and research rare and endangered species of wild birds.

They found eight dead spot-billed ducks near the edge of a water storage reservoir in Koh Andet district’s Krapum Chhouk village-commune in Takeo province.

The expert team said the offence was classified as “poisoning wild birds”.

The deputy director of the Beoung Prek Lapouv protected landscape, Lim Vath, told The Post that near the site where the eight spot-billed ducks died, rangers and BirdLife’s wild bird expert team found several rice seeds suspected of being mixed with pesticide.

Vath said the pesticide was put there intentionally to bait the birds because they drink from the nearby water source.

“We collected spot-billed duck carcasses and rice seeds suspected to be mixed with agriculture pesticides and sent them to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which is our partner in Phnom Penh for forensic examination.

“Hunting with poison is an activity that endangers wildlife and human health. One poisoning case can kill hundreds of birds including rare and endangered species. It also negatively impacts human health because people consume the poisoned birds,” he said.

Beoung Prek Lapouv protected landscape ranger teams have increased their patrols and started educating local communities about the risks of using pesticides.

BirdLife and Cambodia Vulture Working Group (CVWG) coordinator Ny Naiky told The Post on Tuesday that during the past week, her team has collaborated with officers from the Stung Treng Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to check all agriculture pesticides shops in Siem Pang district. They found eight shops selling pesticides without permission.

Naiky said one of the shops sold highly toxic and illegal drugs as well.

“After we found the banned pesticides, officials removed them and advised the merchants to stop bringing such pesticides into the Cambodian market,” Naiky said.

The owner of the store selling fertiliser and illegal pesticides, Nou Chanpov, told The Post that she bought the pesticide, named Molecule, from Thailand to be used privately in her cashew farm. She said she didn’t intend to sell them.

She said: “I bought over 20 sets of it from Thailand for more than $2,000. Each set contains six bottles with one litre per bottle. But I stopped importing it because the agriculture officials said it was a toxic pesticide and was banned,” she said.