June 22, 2015
The Enjoyable Anti-Poaching Patrol
- as seen by -Antony Lynam
In the latter part of our day, a small herd of seven endangered Eld’s deer appeared not far off our patrol route (this photo taken by a camera trap). Like Banteng, these deer used to occur in large numbers across Cambodia’s northern and eastern plains, leading zoologist and explorer Charles Wharton in the 1950’s to famously claim the region to be similar to the African gamelands in terms of wildlife abundance.
Later, a troupe of silvered langurs startled by our team took off, bounding one-by-one from branch to branch through the canopy. Then in a quiet corner we crept up to a hide and flushed a lone white-winged duck from a pond into a thick-boughed resin tree. This is what it’s all about, thick with endangered species!
Around midday we reached a dense green belt of evergreen forest with wide-trunked dipterocarp trees pock-marked with shallow holes used by local people for collecting resin. This is a legal and sustainable use of forest resources and so is actually encouraged. We watched as three resin tappers arrived to light up one of the holes and fill up their plastic containers, before quietly disappearing into the forest.
We sat for a quick lunch of chicken and rice, before heading back to the station, satisfied with our most enjoyable anti-poaching patrol.