Phnom Penh, Feb 14 (IANS) The US-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is encouraged by the Cambodian government’s actions pursuing justice in connection to the murder of three rangers and is committed to continue working with the authorities to protect the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, it was announced on Wednesday.
Ministry of Environment Ranger Teurn Soknai, Military Police Officer Sek Wathana and WCS SMART Officer Thul Khna were killed on January 30 in the wildlife sanctuary while they were patrolling forest near the Cambodia-Vietnam border.
They were killed when returning from the O’huoc border area after locating an illegal logging camp and confiscating chainsaws.
The South-East Asia is plagued by criminals illegally logging and Keo Seima has been one of the targets for the illegal trade in luxury wood.
Ken Serey Rotha, Country Program Director of WCS Cambodia, said: “We will not be deterred in our support of our Cambodian partners who are courageously working to safeguard our country’s wildlife in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary.”
“Our work in Keo Seima is not easy as the loggers, land-grabbers and poachers ruthlessly target our natural resources and our people, but we will not succumb to their total disregard of the law and the importance of the forest to local communities, biodiversity and our nation.”
“With the continued implementation of the SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) patrol system and with the support from REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) partners we all remain committed to the successful management and protection of Keo Seima,” Rotha added.