Mech Dara and Phak Seangly
The Phnom Penh Post, Mon, 2 May 2016
The drought is continuing to take its toll on Cambodia’s wildlife, with a troop of monkeys in Battambang driven from their habitat by a forest fire succumbing to dehydration and starvation.
The 30 black monkeys were found dead on Friday about 10 kilometres from the Sdeykrom Rohal Suong fishing community in Battambang’s Ek Phnom district.
Villagers believe a forest fire that has burned over 1,000 hectares since late March spread to the dry “flooded forest” nearby, driving out the animals and destroying their sources of food.
Meanwhile, ponds had dried up, leaving the monkeys without a source of water. Community representative Hor Som Ath said he believed many more died elsewhere.
“We saw snakes burned in the forest, not monkeys,” he said. “The monkeys died after the fire that damaged their habitat.”
The community last week started taking donations to buy food and water for any surviving monkeys, and had raised $300 as of yesterday from local and Australian donors.
Read: Scenes from a drought
The fire that drove the monkeys out, which had smouldered for months in neighbouring districts, has been difficult to fight and continued burning because of the lack of water, said police chief Chea Sery. (more…)