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Cambodia’s Prey Lang forest has been under threat from illegal loggers for nearly 20 years, with deforestation spiking to 100 square kilometers (39 square miles) in 2016, the same year a wildlife sanctuary was declared.
Cambodia has asked Interpol to investigate Vietnam after accusing its neighbor of knowingly accepting fraudulent permits for rare, illegally logged rosewood timber for transport across their shared border.
A spate of mass toxic poisonings in the Cambodian provinces of Kratie and Mondulkiri have hospitalized hundreds and killed at least 16 people since May.
Local forestry groups have reported increased illegal logging in the weeks before Cambodia’s July 29 election, according to reporting by the Phnom Penh Post.
The sheer scale of the logging operations in Cambodia’s Virachey National Park makes it a wonder that there’s anything left of the forest, especially as the timber just keeps flowing into Vietnam unabated. In fact, Cambodia has one of the world’s highest deforestation rates.
In February, Cambodia announced the establishment of its very first marine national park, covering 524 square kilometers (202 square miles) in the Gulf of Thailand. But the declaration does nothing to protect the environment, at least in the short term, with no new patrols of the heavily fished waters until next year, and a $2 billion island development plan allowed to continue unhindered.
For Cambodia’s last remaining Indochinese leopards (Panthera pardus delacouri), extinction could be just around the corner, a new study has found.