Living with 7 family members, Pok Hong, 38, a farmer, resides at Pnheak Roleuk village, Thmia commune, Saen Chey district, Preah Vihea, says that she used to see monkeys looking for food in the paddy fields (biting corns and eating rice….,etc), and groups of people cut big trees to catch them. Monkeys mostly live in the thick forest, degraded forests or old forest. She continues that monkeys start to get pregnant between June and July.
There are many colors and types of monkeys such as red and white, black and red. Small monkeys alias Swa Kreh usually make their living like human being. Sometimes, they could be looking for mice for each other, and know how to bathe and feed their babies.
She adds, “in average, 5-10 monkeys are caught in Prey Lang every day that might be ordered by Vietnamese business brokers to be sold abroad. These activities took place between 2007-2010″.
In 2011, it seemed quiet, because the community members have began protecting the monkeys in the regions. Almost 100% of the grassroots community jointly conduct the patrols to search for illegal logging fearing the loss of the natural resources whose lives entirely depend on.
Saom Yeun, 22, resides at Tbong Teuk Village, Mean Rith Commune, Sandan District, Kampong Thom, living with her 5 family members. She has just finished her study in High School. She says, “I used to see monkeys when conducting forest patrols, but monkeys inhabit in fear, and most of them dwell by the streams deep in the forest. Small and big monkeys cry out differently and somtimes they eat forest fruits for food”. She adds, “2-3 monkeys are caught every day by stakesholders and powerful people who order the buying.
Having seen the activities, groups of volunteers are organized to search for illegal activities. The groups are established to assist and protect Prey Lang; it’s our forest too. The illegal activities has began for five years now.
To sum up, deforestation to catch monkeys badly affected the lives of the community in the region, losing forest and wildlife animals especially monkeys. Therefore, we have to unite together to protect Prey Lang. Destroying forest is destroy environment and lives.
Written by Prey Lang Activists