Magazine article Geographical

Hunters Target Tigers in Cambodia's Parks

Magazine article Geographical

Hunters Target Tigers in Cambodia's Parks

Article excerpt

Extensive surveys undertaken this year across Cambodia by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reveal that organised gangs of well-funded, mobile hunters are systematically clearing tigers out of the country.

Using camera trapping techniques perfected in Thailand, the surveys found that in Kirirom National Park, 112 kms southwest of Phnom Penh, nearly all large mammals have been shot or killed by poachers using baited landmines, and the hunters have moved on to other areas.

Recovering from 30 years of war and political instability, Cambodia has a relatively small population and still has large areas of forest, particularly in the southwest and northeast. A report published in 1998 by the Cat Action Treasury and Fauna and Flora International, based on information gathered from local hunters, estimated a possible 535 to 717 tigers in the country, giving Cambodia, "... what is likely to be one of the world's largest tiger populations".

Despite recent crackdowns by the Wildlife Protection Office of the Dept of Forestry, trade in wildlife is rife in Cambodia both for traditional Chinese medicine and trophies. Primarily used to treat rheumatism, tiger bone sells for US$80--100 per kilogram (the skeleton of a large male can weigh up to 20kg). …

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