Monks want villagers educated on forest crimes

Source: Khmer Times

Monks pose for a photo during their forest patrol. Supplied

Two social activist monks yesterday called on the government to further educate villagers about deforestation and illegal wildlife hunting following patrols of the Monks Community Forest in Oddar Meanchey province.

Venerable Bun Saluth, head of the Monks Community Forest, and member of the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice Venerable Thorng Narith, joined patrols on Monday and yesterday.

They said during their patrols, they discovered illegal logging, including the felling of at least 10 luxury grade trees, and illegal animal traps, including at least 30 snares and electrical shock machines.

“It was not on a large scale, but these small offences often occur,” said Venerable Bun Saluth.

“Some of the loggers are people in this community and some are from other areas. This forest is big, and there are too few patrols.”

Venerable Bun Saluth asked authorities to increase public awareness of the negative consequences of such actions.

Venerable Thorng Narith said much of the Monks Community Forest is under threat from deforestation and illegal hunting.

“This forest has luxury wood and is the thickest forest in Cambodia, so the state should increase its involvement with monks in preventing forest and wildlife offences,” he said.

The Monks Community Forest is made up of 18,261 hectares of land and was established in 2001 in Chong Kal and Anlong Veng districts.

Provincial environment department director Phuong Lina agreed that minor offences happen, but the state had made major gains in battling large-scale crime.

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