By Vandy Muong
A star-studded concert held in support of efforts to stop wildlife trafficking drew more than 5,000 young people to the Night Market on Saturday.
Organised by the US Ambassador’s Youth Council in conjunction with Wildlife Alliance, Wild for Life featured well-known singers and comedians including Laura Mam, Jimmy Kiss and Sokea.
Activists presented information between songs on environmental protection.
The concert aimed to raise support for the fight against wildlife trafficking in Cambodia, said Amy Van Nice, Wildlife Alliance project manager.
“Cambodia is a source country, a destination country, and a transit country, so we want to raise awareness about wildlife protection . . . what people can do to protect their natural heritage,” she said, adding that Cambodians ought to take pride in the Kingdom’s fauna and flora.
Following a speech from US Ambassador William Todd, Cambodian-American singer Laura Mam took the stage with her Khmer-language folk rock music. CTN entertainer Sokea also performed with a traditional Ayai music performance and comedy routine.
US Embassy spokesman Jay Raman said the concert appeared to be a success. “It was a great and special event for us, and I was so happy to be here with all the young people to celebrate wildlife and conservation,” he said.
Event organiser Khin Menglorm said she hoped young people like herself would help spread the message. “It started from us, and it would benefit the next generation,” she said.
Soy Vuthea, a 23-year-old university student, said during the concert that he would report any crimes against wildlife by calling Wildlife Alliance’s 24-hour national hotline.
“To me, it is an important event to join because we can show our support and protect from illegal logging that causes wildlife extinction,” he said.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries recorded at least 2,400 cases of forest- and wildlife-related crimes in 2014, according to government data, though fewer than 10 people were sentenced in relation to the crimes.
According to Wildlife Alliance, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team rescued around 2,000 wild animals from the wildlife trade in 2014.
The global trade in wildlife trafficking is worth $20 billion annually, making it one of the most lucrative black markets.