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Automatic Cameras in Ratanakiri Pay Dividends

Ratanakiri: Automatic cameras set up in Ratanakiri’s Virachey National Park continue to stun researchers. Just days after they captured the first image in decades of a Giant Muntjac deer, they’ve now produced evidence of an extremely rare Asiatic Golden Cat. The cameras were clicking away between March and May.

Asiatic Golden Cats are classified as “near-vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. They are the smallest and rarest of Asia’s eight big cat species. Head of the Research team, Mr. Pin Chanratana, says the cats weigh up to 16kgs and live on a diet of small mammals, birds and reptiles. He says they are believed to roam in the jungles of northern and southwestern Cambodia, although sightings are extremely uncommon.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Neth Pheaktra, says Virachey is an ASEAN national heritage park and that last week’s sightings of a Giant Muntjac and Clouded Leopard confirm that Cambodia is rich in biodiversity. He says researchers have shown the presence of at least 123 species of mammals, 545 species of birds and 88 species of reptiles, along with thousands of different species of fish, plants and coral.

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