PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: A Cambodian woman sparked outrage countrywide after she filmed herself skinning, cooking and eating endangered animals in order to earn money on YouTube. She was later arrested by the authorities.
Named, Ah Lin Tuch – the woman drew strong criticism on the social media worldwide and her home country in particular over choice of food as she presented a ‘survivalist’ life.
According to the Sun UK, the woman ate; an endangered fishing, cat, a large lizard, several protected species of birds, a king cobra, shark, even stingrays as well as frogs.
However viewers reported her when they realised that many of the animals she was eating near her home in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, were actually protected species under the law.
She and her husband Phoun Raty were tracked down by the country’s Ministry of Environment and they publicly apologised for ‘destroying the wildlife’.
Cambodia’s top official in the Environment Ministry, Chea Sam Arng, said: ‘We are now in the process of taking legal action against them while the working group is preparing a report on the matter. ‘The animals that were cooked were mostly not on the endangered list, but are protected. Only one species was in danger of extinction.’
The endangered animal is the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), while the lizard, a large heron and other species of birds are protected. The couple have removed the clips of Ah Lin eating those animals – but still have footage of her eating frogs, the cobra, shark and a stingray. The couple claimed that they bought the wildlife ‘from a local market’ then cooked it.
Environment officials are now investigating whether the animals were killed in the wild or bought from illegal stalls while they prepare the prosecution. Ah Lin said: ‘I don’t even know what kind of animals or birds we used or their impact on wildlife conservation.
‘I bought the wildlife at Preak Phnov and we started filming our videos since December. Now I have already admitted my mistake.’ Ah Lin’s husband, Phoun, said they had intended to earn a living from the social media channel which had so far earned them $500 for Google sponsored adverts being shown on the clips.