The following statement was released by the Wildlife Conservation Society concerning the murder of two conservation heroes on Nov. 7.
Said Ross Sinclair, Director of WCS Cambodia:
"At WCS, we extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of our two Royal Government of Cambodia partners Sieng Darong, a Forestry Administration ranger and Sab Yoh, a police officer, killed on November 7 in the Preah Vihear Protected Forest while they were bravely patrolling to stop illegal logging and poaching.
"Darong, 47, and Yoh, 29, were gunned down by cold-blooded killers with high powered weapons as they slept during an overnight patrol tracking illegal loggers and poachers in the Preah Vihear Protected Forest, near Robonh village in northwestern Cambodia in the Choam Khsant district. Darong and Yoh were on patrol with two others. One member of the team escaped while another was wounded but is recovering well.
"Before Darong and Yoh were executed, their team had a few hours earlier confiscated chainsaws from an illegal logging site. After the raid, the team remained in the area to continue their investigation.
"Darong and Yoh had patrolled Cambodia's forests for many years, understood the dangers of their work, and were focused and determined to protect their forests and wildlife from criminals. WCS has worked in this area since 2000 and we will remember Darong and Yoh as brave forest rangers dedicated to a cause they believed in. Darong, survived by a wife and two daughters, has worked as a WCS counterpart since 2014 and was patrol team leader. Yoh, survived by his wife and young daughter, had worked as a WCS counterpart and patrol member since 2009.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleagues. In their honor and to honor all those who day in and day out work to protect the forests and wildlife of Cambodia, we will continue to support our government and community partners in their efforts to stop the illegal logging and poaching, and to bring the murderers to justice.
"Every day forestry rangers and law enforcement officers risk their lives to protect wildlife and the forests. We should not allow criminals to destroy the forests of Cambodia and to threaten and murder those working tirelessly to protect this country's natural heritage. Darong and Yoh will always be remembered as conservation heroes."