Palm Civet and Bengal Monitors Resced from Major Supplier

On February 3rd, 2016 the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) concluded an investigation that identified a major supplier of wildlife meat to traders in Banlung City of Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia.

The WRRT staff used local informants and conducted long hours of undercover surveillance to first identify the wildlife meat traders at and around markets in the Banlung area, and then locate their supplier. The information gathered also suggests that he supplies traders with wildlife meat to areas both in and outside of Ratanakiri Province including the city of Phnom Penh.

With assistance from local authorities, the team raided the supplier’s house and rescued a palm civet and five Bengal monitors. After being properly assessed, all the healthy animals were released later that day into protected forest. They also found and seized the meat of two wild pigs and six muntjacs. The supplier was arrested and will have to appear in court to face wildlife-trading charges.

Major Duck Trader Arrested - 85 Whistling Ducks Rescued

On Tuesday, January 26, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team rescued 85 whistling ducks from a prominent trader in Tbong Khmum Province, Cambodia. This prominent wildlife trafficker has been under investigation by the team for some time, and is known to supply wildlife to Vietnam.

After getting a warrant to search the premises of her house, the team found 85 whistling ducks. Valued at $25 each, she has been fined ($2,125 USD in total. Although an exact price is not known, they are likely to be valued considerably more in Vietnam where they are considered somewhat of a delicacy. She has been arrested and is facing wildlife trading charges; the hearing was set for February 1, 2016. WRRT staff will also attend this hearing to ensure proper processes are followed and an adequate penalty is imposed.

All rescued ducks were examined to determine if they were suitable for immediate release, but they all had one wing that had been clipped. They were provided with food and water before being transported directly to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center to be further assessed. The birds will be released into natural habitats as soon as they are fit to fly and fend for themselves.

47 Tons of Illegal Wood Confiscated

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On December 23, 2015, the Southern Cardamom Forest Protection Program successfully seized a truck with 47 tons of illegal timber.

The Chambak station advisor was tipped-off on a truck carrying illegal timber attempting to leave Aural Wildlife Sanctuary. The station advisor reported the information to Wildlife Alliance's Law Enforcement Manager who instructed the Trapeang Rung Patrol Unit to ambush the truck. The Trapeang Rung Patrol Unit found the truck on the road leaving Aural Wildlife Sanctuary and began to surround the vehicle. The Patrol Unit found 47 tons of rosewood on the truck and it was taken to the station for further legal action.

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The Law Enforcement Manager did not have the nearest station conduct the operation because informants are often posted at nearby ranger stations to provide information to the drivers and prevent law enforcement from successfully confiscating the timber.

Help Wildlife Alliance continue to stop poachers and protect the Southern Cardamom forest by making a gift today!


Kouprey Express Collaborates with USAID's SFB Project

Wildlife Alliance's Kouprey Express Mobile Environmental Education Project (KE) was recently highlighted in a project snapshot by Winrock International. The article featured Kouprey Express' recent collaboration and activities in Kompong Thom under USAID's Supporting Forests and Biodiversity (SFB) project. The Kouprey Express works directly with teachers and students in communities living in and near rural protected areas to raise awareness of conservation issues and laws, reducing demand for wildlife and deterring the illegal wildlife trade, and influencing positive attitudes and behaviors towards the environment. The December activities are the first of three collaborations with SFB, and the other two events are scheduled for February and March. We are excited to be working with USAID's SFB project in promoting conservation education, and look forward to the continued collaboration. You can also see the Kouprey Express and SFB in action in this short news clip by Bayon TV!

Ivory Smuggler Arrested in Cambodia

Last month, in a landmark win for wildlife and counter-trafficking efforts, an ivory bust was processed through the Cambodian courts for the first time. The suspect was arrested in Siem Reap airport, where he was caught trying to smuggle 15 elephant tusks weighing 43 kg, 11 pieces of dried elephant tails weighing 1.9 kg, and 0.2 kg of claws and fangs of an unidentified big cat. Airport officials pulled the smuggler aside for questioning after finding his travel route suspicious. Flying from Angola, the trader stopped in Ethiopia, South Korea and Cambodia, before finally heading to his home country of Vietnam. The Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) is cooperating with local officials to find the buyers, whom they believe live locally. The perpetrator has been charged with two counts of smuggling, and if found guilty could face 5 to 10 years in prison.

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This case is also significant because it is the first time that the WRRT has been invited by customs officials to assist in a bust, and demonstrates to criminal networks that the government is taking international wildlife trafficking seriously. Strengthening ties with border and airport customs has been a major focus of the WRRT over the past three years, and this increased cooperation has already led to several successful seizures, including three tons of ivory seized at Sihanoukville harbor in May 2014. The WRRT, in conjunction with Wildlife Alliance’s Kouprey Express Mobile Environmental Education Team, has led several training sessions with customs officials to help improve the awareness of airport staff on the proper identification of wildlife as well as to help identify trafficking methods used by traders that transport wildlife through airfreight. These trainings have been very well received, and have proved to be beneficial in building the capacity of customs officials to crack down on the illegal wildlife trade.

Wildlife Alliance has found that Cambodia is increasingly being targeted as a trade route for ivory being transported to Vietnam and China, where it is estimated to be worth over $2,000 per kilogram on the black market. With the senseless slaughter of elephants continuing at unprecedented rates, it is clear that every country involved in the trade must work together to ramp up their efforts to save elephants from extinction. In Cambodia, Wildlife Alliance is directly addressing the illegal wildlife trade by strengthening law enforcement, while also reducing demand and increasing awareness through education and outreach. Join us in putting an end to the illegal ivory trade by donating today.

The WRRT is a Forestry Administration law enforcement unit led by the Forestry Administration, in cooperation with the Military Police, with technical and financial support from Wildlife Alliance.

Rare Clouded Leopard Caught on Camera!

Clouded leopard caught on camera near wildlife release station

Clouded leopard caught on camera near wildlife release station

Our goal is to restore wild populations and ensure that wild animals stay in the wild.  We are documenting the recovery of wildlife species in the Cardamom Mountain Range (Cambodia's largest tropical rainforest) that we have been protecting for over a decade. Wildlife populations were decimated and the forest was ravaged prior to our arrival. Thanks to systematic ranger law enforcement, animals such as this clouded leopard can be seen again. 

Now ecotourists can come to the Wildlife Release Station and view wild animals at night. You can book a bungalow at the below link.

For booking, please click here.  

Bungalows, Wildlife release station deep in cardamom rainforest

Bungalows, Wildlife release station deep in cardamom rainforest

Community-Based Ecotourism Project Wins Tourism Awards

On September 22, 2015, the Community-Based Ecotourism Project in Chi Phat won three “Samdech Techo Prime Minister Eco-Business Awards for Tourism." The project won the (1) Outstanding Award, (2) Environmental Award and (3) Social Welfare and Cultural Heritage Award from the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The Awards were handed over by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia at the Conference on “Clean Resort, Good Service, Best Hospitality Contest 2015-2016.”

Latest Report on Cardamon’s situation submitted to the Cambodian Government

Our Land Use Team and the Minister looking at aerial ortho-photographs of the elephant corridor. Photo Courtesy of the Ministry of Environment.

Our Land Use Team and the Minister looking at aerial ortho-photographs of the elephant corridor. Photo Courtesy of the Ministry of Environment.

On September 29, 2015, Suwanna Gauntlett had a meeting with Cambodia's Minister of Environment, H.E. Say Samal. Wildlife Alliance had the honor of presenting to the Minister our research showing the situation of the elephant corridor outside of our project area between Kirirom and Bokor National Parks. Here, Suwanna and our Land Use Team with the Minister, H.E. Say Samal, looking at the aerial ortho-photography of the corridor.

Camera Trap Captures Rare Footage of Elephant Herd in the Southern Cardamom Mountains

For the first time ever, a herd of wild elephants were caught on camera in the Southern Cardamoms of Cambodia. While elephant sightings by locals have been on the rise since 2012, this is the first time elephants have been caught on camera in this part of the country. The discovery of this herd is important confirmation that Wildlife Alliance’s efforts to protect vital wildlife habitat is helping elephant populations recover. Watch the video below. 

With renewed impetus and in coordination with World Elephant Day, Wildlife Alliance is launching a new campaign to draw attention to the urgent plight of this endangered species. There are less than 35,000 Asian elephants remaining in the wild, and only an estimated 200 elephants in Cambodia. Between 2001 and 2002, 37 elephants were reported killed in the Southern Cardamoms preceding the implementation of Wildlife Alliance’s forest protection program. Since 2006, there have been zero deaths reported. Wildlife Alliance, in partnership with the Royal Government of Cambodia, operates six forest ranger stations whose mandate is to safeguard 1.7 million acres of tropical rainforest. The Southern Cardamoms are part of a mosaic of Protected Areas and Protected Forests that form Cambodia’s largest intact forest and one of Asia’s last remaining elephant corridors. Wildlife Alliance’s constant monitoring, repeated awareness campaigns, and strict enforcement of wildlife laws has curbed forest crime in the Southern Cardamoms and given elephant populations an opportunity to rebound. As increasing pressure is being placed on the remaining elephant habitat, and human-elephant conflict is expected to rise, it is important for Wildlife Alliance to continue its comprehensive conservation plan to ensure that this globally significant species is protected.

Today, on World Elephant Day, Wildlife Alliance will launch the Elephant Alliance campaign, which seeks to unite a broad base of supporters to raise awareness about the urgent plight of the Asian elephant and to save this iconic species from extinction. By raising funds and awareness, we can boost critical elephant habitat protection, implement solutions for human-elephant conflict and save the remaining Asian elephants before it is too late. Wildlife Alliance would like to thank the following organizations for lending their support and demonstrating a commitment to elephant and wildlife conservation: World Elephant Day, For The Animals, Rainforest Trust, Mr. Ellie Pooh, PuraVida Bracelets, Working Dogs for Conservation, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Eco-Sys Action, ElephantStay, The Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project, Elephant Action League, Boylston Family Foundation, Abraham Foundation, Earth Day Initiative, and The Bodhi Tree Foundation.

For more information, and to join the Elephant Alliance campaign, visit www.elephantalliance.org.

Second Pair of Endangered Gibbons Released at Angkor

On June 30, 2015, a second pair of endangered pileated gibbons was successfully released into the forest surrounding the Angkor Temple Complex in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The two gibbons, Bayon and Tevy, spent 11 months in their release enclosure to ensure the pair was closely bonded and fully acclimated to their new surroundings before their release. Bayon, the male, was brought to the rescue center as an adult wild animal, and Tevy, the female, was born at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center. Watch their exciting release below.

This is the third release at Angkor, and we are thrilled with the results so far. In 2013, the project was initiated with the release of two endangered pileated gibbons. This first pair of gibbons quickly adapted to their new life, and even had their first baby in October 2014! The birth signified the triumph of this unique reintroduction program and in December 2014, a trio of endangered silvered langurs was also released. It is our hope that this monitored release program will help raise awareness and safeguard the future of all these endangered animals. Guards have been stationed to protect the forest, and the gibbons and langurs will continue to be monitored to ensure they thrive in their new home.

The Angkor Release Project is an ambitious and exciting program that aims to bring expatriated wildlife back to the forest surrounding the Angkor temple complex. This historic site was once a vibrant forest until excessive hunting decimated wildlife populations. Since becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site, this barren jungle is now well protected and suited for wildlife. This reintroduction program is the first of its kind in Cambodia, and we are grateful to have been given permission from the Cambodian Forestry Administration and the Apsara Authority that manages the site, to reintroduce species that once lived in this area.