By Phak Seangly, Amelia Woodside
A group of endangered Asian elephants found dead in Mondulkiri province on Sunday were likely slaughtered, investigators from conservation group WWF-Cambodia have found.
The organisation said in a statement yesterday an investigation into the deaths in protected Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary suggested the elephants were “slaughtered by well-organised poachers”.
An examination of the remains indicated the two adult female elephants were shot in the head three months ago and died together in the same spot, while the cause of the calf’s death remains unknown, the statement adds.
Nick Marx, director of conservation group Wildlife Alliance’s wildlife rescue and care program, reiterated yesterday that the elephants’ death probably had nothing to with ivory because female Asian elephants do not have tusks.
“The fact that females were killed could be because hunters wanted to capture a live elephant – a worrying thought if this once again becomes a practice in Cambodia,” Marx said.
Asnarith Tep, director of communications for WWF-Cambodia, said the wildlife sanctuary spanned 222.5 hectares and was officially under the management of the Ministry of Environment.
The nearby Mondulkiri Protected Forest and its nearly 400,000 hectares is also home to a raft of endangered species but is overseen by the Forestry Administration. More....