Cambodian YouTubers On Trial For Skinning and Eating Endangered Animals
A word to the wise: when you’re picking up meat from the butcher shop, you should know where it’s coming from.
The creators behind Cambodian YouTube channel Natural Life TV are in trouble with the authorities after posting videos where they skin and eat endangered and protected animals. Ah Lin Tuch and her husband Phoun Raty run the survivalist channel together with a stated purpose of showing their audience wilderness survival skills.
Most of their content isn’t controversial at all, showing Ah Lin collecting wild berries, or building a well out of old tires. But some of the videos, which have since been removed, caught the attention of the Cambodian Ministry of Environment. And just a disclaimer, some of these images may be disturbing for some.
They show Ah Lin cooking and eating species of protected birds and a fishing cat which is on the endangered species list. The south Asian fishing cat is endangered due to depletion to its natural wetland habitat, caused by human activities. The couple claims they didn’t capture or kill the animals themselves, but rather bought them at a local market.
Authorities will now have to determine if Ah Lin and her husband are primarily responsible, or if there are illegal vendors selling the meat of endangered and protected animals. In a recent court appearance, the couple apologized and claimed ignorance about the animals’ protected status.
Ah Lin said: “‘I don’t even know what kind of animals or birds we used or their impact on wildlife conservation.” It makes sense that they didn’t really know much about the animals they were using. They say the videos were shot near their home in Phnom Penh, and they really do look like they’re shooting more in a public park than deep in the wilderness.
Phoun said their plan with the channel was to earn YouTube ad money, but they’d only made $500 over the last few months. Though the case is ongoing, Natural Life TV has still been posting content to its YouTube channel.
You’ve got to be careful when dealing with wild animals, not just because of YouTube policies, but because you might be breaking the law. Not long ago, Brandon Boyles, who posted on YouTube as VenomMan20, was arrested for being in possession of nearly two dozen venomous snakes. Boyles couldn’t claim ignorance in his case, as he was well aware the state of Maryland did not allow those reptiles to be kept in a private residence.
What do you guys think? Should Natural Life TV be in trouble even if they didn’t know the animals were endangered? Let us know in the comments and make sure to follow us on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.