The Asiatic Golden Cat Catopuma temminckii is one of seven species of wild cat found in Cambodia and may be one of the rarest. There are few recent records from the Kingdom of this IUCN Near-Threatened species whose global populations are impacted by habitat loss and poaching. In October 2014 Wildlife Alliance confiscated six golden cat skins destined for the international marked from a Chinese trader in Phnom Penh. This photo and video, from a remote corner of the Cardamom Mountains, happily show a living Golden Cat in its natural habitat. Wildlife Alliance is working to ensure effective law enforcement protects this species and all the biodiversity of its mountain home.
At 11.40 am on Monday July 18, 2016, WRRT apprehended a 40 year old female trader after a long running investigation concerning cross border wildlife trafficking. The trader was arrested in the province of Banteay Meanchey after detailed information was provided by an informant concerning a bear or bear parts being transported from Thailand and destined to be sold in Phnom Penh.
Initial information included a vehicle description and registration plate number and the intention was to follow the trader to a destination point to arrest others involved in the trafficking. This was however not possible as the trader swapped vehicles several times and the last information received included only a vehicle type (Camry) and the colour of the drivers shirt. As a result the team decided it was necessary to intercept the vehicle on route to ensure the correct vehicle was stopped. On sighting a vehicle fitting the description provided, the team pursued and stopped it approximately 70 kms from the Thai border on national Road # 56 in Svay Chek District of Banteay Meancheay. A subsequent search resulted in 4 Asiatic black bear legs being located in a cooler stored in the trunk of the vehicle and a bear gall bladder being located in a cooler in the traders handbag. She was subsequently arrested and conveyed to the local FA office where she was charged with trading endangered wildlife under Article 98 (12) of the Forestry Law. The trader remains in pre-trial detention pending her court appearance and is still being questioned regarding the circumstances surrounding the offence and the identity of others involved.
This morning Wildlife Alliance Chief Executive Office Suwanna Gauntlett and her team met with H.E. Sao Sopheap, Director of the Environment Minister’s Cabinet and his Department Directors, to plan next steps of our close cooperation on the protection of the Southern Cardamom National Park and Tatai Wildlife Sanctuary.
CEO Suwanna Gauntlett wrote: "I was very honored to receive the visit of Rhett Butler, Mongabay founder and director, who came to trek with me for two days in the jungle of the Southern Cardamoms. I took him to see our Wildlife Release Station, where he saw the wild animals currently being re-wilded by Wildlife Alliance after we saved them from the illegal wildlife trade (pangolins, sun bears, binturongs, and great hornbills)."
On July 14, Wildlife Alliance, together with Bangkok-based partner Freeland, launched the Khmer version of WildScan app. This was not only a fun but very important and useful information session for field staff and officers from Customs and Excise, Ministry of Environment, Forestry Administration, WWF, Conservation International, Wildlife Conservation Society, BirdLife International, and Wildlife Alliance. Funded by USAID’s ARREST program, WildScan helps law enforcement and the general public to not only quickly and easily identify protected species by providing photos, critical information and identification clues for more than 350 species but also file reports on wildlife crime. Yesterday’s launch included an informational session on how to use the app and a field trip to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center allowing participants to practice identifying wildlife using WildScan. This is a great tool that will help Wildlife Alliance and other agencies who are at the frontlines to protect Cambodia’s natural heritage. WildScan is available in English, Thai, Vietnamese and Khmer – download it today! Free download on Iphone and Android.
Phnom Penh Post wrote: The app helps users identify animals using photos and a process of elimination and contains 600 pages of information about 350 animals. It also links them to wildlife crime hotlines and animal rescue centres, where users can anonymously lodge reports if they notice something amiss. Amy Van Nice, Wildlife Alliance’s deputy program director, said the app could be used by anyone – from jungle-exploring tourists to restaurant diners.
According to USAID, the mobile application is designed to help law enforcement officials respond to wildlife trafficking, an illicit trade estimated at $19 billion per year and run by organized criminal syndicates. WildScan contains photos and critical information for over 280 endangered species and illegal wildlife products commonly trafficked into and throughout Southeast Asia to assist in proper identification and rapid response.
These images and video show Chinese Serow Capricornis milneedwardsii a species of wild goat which occurs in hill forests across mainland South East Asia. IUCN listed as Near Threatened, largely as a result of hunting for food and medicine, Serow blood is used in traditional Cambodian medicine to treat a number of ailments. As a result, the species has been heavily targeted by hunters and is now restricted to a few remote forest sites largely in the Cardamom Mountains. In this amazing photo and video a young Serow suckles on her mother before the pair disappear into the night forest.
Wildlife Alliance has been conducting scientific camera-trapping in the remote corners of the Southern Cardamom Landscape, part of the largest intact area of tropical evergreen rain forest in mainland South-east Asia, and a landscape significant for biodiversity and critical for ecosystem services. More than 8,000 camera-trap nights from more than 60 locations have revealed previously unseen insights into the status and behavior of some of the Kingdom’s most threatened species of mammal and bird.
A week ago, our ranger team from Sre Ambel ambushed smugglers who illegally transported four Slow Lorises to a buyer in a nearby town. Three of the Slow Lorises are alive. But one died during the chase. The rangers transported the Slow Lorises to Wildlife Alliance Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center for health assessment. It is about three hours' drive from Koh Kong to the rescue center outside Phnom Penh.
On a patrol, ranger Rethy Sowath from Sre Ambel station rescued a civet from an elderly woman, who kept the common palm civet as a household pet. "I educated her about wildlife law," said Sowath. "Under the Cambodian law, it is illegal to have civets as pets." The woman explained that she cared for the civet since it was a cub. "In the forest I saw the dead parents trapped in snares," said the woman. "I took the baby animal home with me and raised it." Convinced, the elderly lady handled over the civet to our ranger. Prior to being transported to the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, Rethy Sowath shared this video of the friendly civet.
Wildlife Alliance Ambassador Ms. Yulia Khouri, CEO of INNOV8, recently published her first opinion articlein AsiaLife Cambodia. The article illustrates her personal accounts of the Southern Cardamoms. She traveled to the field to meet our rangers whose main mission is to safeguard Cambodia's gem - Cardamom Mountains. Despite its enormous size, their mission is possible with a decent pair of boots, explained a ranger who was interviewed by Ms. Khouri. The magazine link to Ms. Khouri's article is not available at this time. However, you can read her first article "The Ugly Reality of Human Greed" here.