Wildlife cameras to be installed to restore tiger population

Hidden device: A camera trap seen at Khnorng Phsar, a national park of Cardamom Mountain in western Phnom Penh. — AP

The kingdom will begin installing hundreds of monitoring cameras and import four tigers from India as part of a plan to restore its tiger population, officials said.

Tigers were declared “functionally extinct” in Cambodia in 2016 by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The last tiger spotted in the country was in 2007 by a camera trap – a hidden camera that is triggered by the movement of animals – in the forests of eastern Mondulkiri province.

Cambodia’s Environment Ministry said it plans to install cameras at 1km intervals in the Cardamom Mountains for use over a three-month period covering both dry and rainy seasons to monitor wildlife, particularly those preyed upon by tigers such as deer and wild boar.

Conservation group Wildlife Alliance, which is working with the ministry on the project, said 410 cameras will be installed.

“This information will aid conservationists in devising plans to bolster big tiger populations, which may involve measures like breeding more wildlife or supplying domestic cattle or buffaloes,” the ministry said in a statement.

“It will facilitate the study of the density and distribution of prey species crucial for the survival of big tigers.”

Ministry spokesperson Khvay Atitya said the installation of the camera traps took place last weekend.

He said four tigers, three female and one male, will be sent from India by the end of the year to be settled in a 90ha protected zone inside the Tatai Wildlife Sanctuary in the western provinces of Koh Kong and Pursat.

Under an agreement with India, if the pilot plan proceeds smoothly, 12 more tigers will be imported over the following five years, he said. — AP

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