Endangered Eld’s Deer Spotted in Mekong Landscape for the First Time in Five Years

AKP Phnom Penh, September 24, 2020 –​ Four Eld’s deers (Rucervus eldii) were photographed for the first time in five years by camera traps that were placed in the WWF’s supported Sambor Wildlife Sanctuary located in the Mekong Flooded Forest Landscape, according to WWF’s press release.

The species is listed as Endangered in both Cambodia’s Forestry Law and on the IUCN’s red list.

Conservationists are thrilled to see the rare images of three adult females and one juvenile Eld’s deer roaming the sanctuary, as they examined this week 1,710 photographs produced between August-September by the camera traps that were deployed at different locations in the sanctuary with a total area of 50,093 hectares.

“We are very excited about this discovery,” said Mr. Eam Sam Un, Biodiversity Research and Monitoring Manager with WWF.

The camera trapping survey efforts, with the financial support from WWF-Belgium and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), are conducted jointly by researchers and rangers from the Kratie’s Provincial Department of Environment, Community Forestry, WWF staff and members of Community Patrol Team to monitor wildlife in the sanctuary. WWF’s scientists described the camera trap event as a significant discovery for conservation in the Mekong landscape.

“The photographs provide evidence that our conservation efforts are paying off, raising hopes for the protection of the animal in the country and region,” said Mr. Seng Teak, WWF Country Director.

Aside from the Eld’s deers, the photographs also documented the presence of red muntjac, wild pig, small indian civet, common palm civet, as well as large bird species such as the endangered green peafowl and vulnerable lesser adjutant.

A report on threatened species published by IUCN in 2015 showed the population of Eld’s deer has scattered across the globe with an estimate of less than 700 individuals, and with a small subpopulation remaining in Cambodia’s protected forests. WWF has been working closely with the Cambodian Government at all levels to support the management of the Sambo Wildlife Sanctuary, where habitat loss and poaching for meat and trade are among major known threats to the species survival.

(Photo: WWF)

By Heng Panha