An image released by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) on October 26, 2020, shows an Eld deer in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in eastern Cambodia. (Eleanor Briggs/WCS/Bulletin via Xinhua)
The Zero Wild Meat campaign will be launched this year and will partner with restaurants and food outlets to pledge their commitment to Zero Wild Meat.
Mondulkiri, Cambodia, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) Cambodian officials and environmentalists on Saturday called for an end to wildlife consumption, saying the demand for wildlife consumption was a major driver of poaching, crisis crisis and illegal trade.
Environment Ministry Foreign Minister Neth Vectra said wildlife consumption also increases the risk of disease transmission from wildlife to humans, which poses a serious threat to the environment and human health.
“People who consume bushmeat in the hope of obtaining health benefits or cures for diseases and supplements that give them strength or social status are wrong. In contrast, consuming wild meat not only affects their health but also stimulates poaching, hunting and trafficking,” he said during the launch of the campaign. Zero Wild Meat in the northeastern province of Mondulkiri”.
“It is time for all wild meat lovers and traders to make positive change to stop wildlife consumption or trade, and in exchange for protecting wildlife and natural resources as a way to contribute to economic and tourism development, as well as for the benefit of local and global ecosystems.”
An undated photo showing your red product captured by a camera trap in a reserve in Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia. (Ministry of Environment/WWF-Cambodia/Breakthrough via Xinhua)
Vectra said law enforcement reports from the Mobile Law Enforcement Unit in Mondulki showed that 1,353 kilograms of illegally traded wild meat had been seized during the past 18 months of 2021.
He added that law enforcement authorities in Stung Treng and Ratanakiri provinces in the past six months had confiscated more than 200 kilograms of bushmeat during wildlife smuggling and wet market raids in those provinces.
According to a joint press release, the wild animal species that fall victim to consumer demand and illegal trade typically include species of ungulates such as mangoes, wild boars, banteng, and sambars, as well as lizard, civets, and loris, among others.
A study series on ungulate populations in the Eastern Plains by the Ministry of Environment and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) showed that between 2010 and 2022 the population of banteng, montjak and wild boar decreased by 89 percent, 65 percent and 15 percent, respectively, the statement added. The study also showed very low encounter rates for the eld, gore and sambar deer.
Singh Tek, director of the WWF in Cambodia, said that species of wild animals of global importance have already become extinct due to illegal hunting and trade that has continued to kill, which has led to a sharp decline in the numbers of other species in the country’s protected areas.
“It is important that all buyers, sellers, traders and consumers understand the health risks associated with consumption and trade activities, and adopt the Zero Wild Meat Commitment,” he added.
An image released by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on February 11, 2021 shows the Terns River flying over the Mekong River in Kratie Province, Cambodia. (WWF/Bulletin via Xinhua)
The statement said that the consumption and trade of wildlife puts humans in close contact with wildlife, for example in markets and restaurants, and increases the risk of transmission from wild animals, adding that eating wild meat not only exposes people to serious health risks, but also creates conditions. For the potential spread of zoonotic diseases through hunting, hunting, transportation, storage, trading, processing and sale of wild meat.
The Zero Wild Meat campaign will be piloted for six weeks in October and November 2022 and will collaborate with all 32 restaurants and food outlets in Mondulkiri to pledge their commitment to Zero Wild Meat and spread awareness.
“On behalf of the Mondulkiri administration, I would like to urge the people of Cambodia to say no to wild meat and cooperate in protecting Cambodia’s natural resources,” said Chan Ratana, deputy governor of Mondulkiri.
Yi Singdoorn, deputy director of the Ministry of Health’s Infectious Disease Control Department, said the Zero Wild Meat campaign was important to protect public health from current and future human-to-human transmission risks.
“We must work together to prevent the purchase, sale, transfer and consumption of wildlife species that pose a high risk of transmission of zoonoses,” he said.■