Endangered Hog Deer captured on camera trap for the first time in a decade in Eastern Cambodia
The four adult hog deer, three females and one male, were photographed in the evening and early morning in Kratie province using an automatically triggered camera trap placed in the core protection zone of the 2,678-hectare proposed protected area. In the photographs, the nocturnal animals are seen grazing on rice saplings and vegetation. The WWF-Cambodia research team has also found evidence of young hog deer footprints around the camera trap sites.
Hog deer, listed as a globally endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s “Red List,” was once thought to be extinct in Cambodia until 2006, when it was rediscovered in Kratie province. However, it has not been seen or photographed in the wild since then. The main threats to the hog deer include hunting and snaring for bush meat consumption, habitat loss, charcoal production, and land clearance for agriculture.
WWF-Cambodia researcher, Channa Phan; Royal Phnom Penh University Biology student, Sreymouy Kuth; and Hog Deer Patrol team member, Mr. Kong Yi had set up the camera traps using information reported by the local community of species presence in area. The four photos were captured in separate locations in the rice field belonging to community members whose want to see hog deer thrive in their land.
“The rice field owner who reported the sightings was originally opposed to protecting the species but is now one of the many community members involved in either protecting camera traps or forming part of community patrol teams” said Channa Phan. He also added that “the rice field owners are now aware of the fact that hog deer do not destroy rice crops and that they are useful to the ecosystem, and can create opportunities for future eco-based tourism.”
“The confirmed photos of female and male presence and juvenile footprint sightings indicate that populations can be recovered,” Channa added.
“This is a fabulous news and it clearly reflects the hard work of community members and the joint effort between government and WWF field teams during the last few years,” said Seng Teak, WWF-Cambodia Country Director. “These sighting are encouraging and inspiring. However, hunting pressure remains a challenge and we must eliminate it via close collaboration with communities, increasing our boots on the ground, and implementing effective law enforcement,” he added
The hog deer conservation project is relatively new having been officially established by WWF-Cambodia in 2014 in the Mekong Flooded Forest Landscape. The ongoing focus will be on community outreach, community patrolling and law enforcement, research, and planning and designing the hog deer site to be under legal protection.
For more information:
Photos of the hog deer available here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3-3_0ERIkx4Q1dJYndVaUpDSHc
Mr. Un Chakrey, Communications and Marketing Manager of WWF-Cambodia
Tel: +855 (0)17 234 555