Wild Elephant Herd Spotted in Wildlife Sanctuary in eastern Mondulkiri
Wildlife trafficking is the fourth largest black market in the world, with the illegal trade in exotic endangered species, their meat and by-products estimated to have an annual value of $20 billion. This includes wild elephants. According to USAID, at the current rates of illicit wildlife trade, up to 40 percent of Asian wildlife could be lost in the next century.
The major threats to the wild elephants in Cambodia are poaching and the loss of their habitat. Over a 6 month period 90 high resolution camera traps were set up by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Winrock International in Mondulkiri to monitor trends in wild elephant populations in the provinces eastern plains. There could be less than 500 wild elephants left in Cambodia.
Chhith Sam Ath, country director of WWF-Cambodia, said the threat of extinction facing the country’s elephant population is imminent.
The photo below shows an endangered elephant herd seen traveling with calves through the Tonle Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province earlier in June. This Sanctuary was formerly known as Mondulkiri Protected Forest, located on the province’s eastern plains.
With elephant populations declining by at least 50 percent over the last three generations, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list, the new sightings at Tonle Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary offer a glimpse of hope for the future.