Endangered hog deers captured on camera trap for first time in a decade in East Cambodia

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua) – Four hog deers have been captured and recorded on camera traps by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Kratie province of eastern Cambodia for the first time in a decade, the conservationist group said in a press release on Monday.

“This is promising news and builds hopes for a future population increase of this endangered species in the Mekong Flooded Forest landscape,” said the WWF’s release.

The four adult hog deers, three females and one male, were photographed in Kratie province, using an automatically triggered camera trap placed in the core protection zone of the 2,678-hectare proposed protected area, it said.

In the photographs, the nocturnal animals are seen grazing on rice saplings and vegetation, it said, adding that 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 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 release said.

The main threats to the hog deer include hunting and snaring for bush meat consumption, habitat loss, charcoal production, and land clearance for agriculture, it said.

WWF-Cambodia has set up the camera traps after locals reported the presence of the species in the area.

“The confirmed photos of female and male presence and juvenile footprint sightings indicate that populations can be recovered,” WWF-Cambodia researcher Phan Channa said.

Seng Teak, WWF-Cambodia country director, said this was fabulous news and it clearly reflected the hard work of community members and the joint effort between government and WWF field teams in the last few years.