Posts Tagged ‘Cambodia’

World’s Only Captive Hairy-nosed Otter Gets New Home

June 23, 2008

The world’s only known hairy-nosed otter in captivity, one of the rarest and little known of otter species, got a new home and a Buddhist blessing June 18.

Dara, a frisky young male rescued when his mother was killed by a fisherman, was released into a large new enclosure built for him at Phnom Tamau Zoological Garden and Rescue Centre, located near Phnom Penh. The release was celebrated with a blessing by Buddhist monks, a Cambodian tradition when a family moves into a new residence. Dara, which in the Khmer language means “star” or “precious” was brought to the wildlife center in December. He had been living in a small cage since his capture.

The natural habitat for this rare species in Cambodia is the seasonally flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Great Lake. Conservation International (CI) and Cambodia’s Fishery Administration are working together to extend the Kampong Prak fish sanctuary at Tonle Sap Lake up to 20,000 hectares to include vital otter habitat. The expansion includes large areas of flooded forests where at least two species of rare otters are known to exist, the hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana), and the smooth-coated otter (Lutragale perspicillata).

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The last mahouts

May 5, 2008

The mighty Asian elephant has featured large in Asian culture for centuries. This enormous beast, a perennial symbol of strength and power, has been tamed and trained to perform in a variety of roles in agriculture, royal ceremonies, circuses and even combat.

Specially trained elephants were also widely used throughout the sub-continent as executioners as recently as the early 20th century. Depending on the disposition of the prevailing ruler, the unfortunate beast would be ordered to either stomp on the prisoner or slowly pluck off his limbs

Throughout India, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma and beyond, elephants are revered and even worshipped for their intelligence, usefulness and beauty.

They are perhaps best known for their use in heavy agricultural duties like logging and hauling loads. But times are changing and the role of the Asian elephant is shifting away from menial tasks and becoming restricted to ceremonial duties and tourist performances.

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