A Decade of Zero Elephants Poaching in Cardamom Rainforest

Press conference, August 10, 2016:  On World Elephant Day (12th August) conservation non-profit organization Wildlife Alliance celebrates its achievement of Zero Poaching for the Asian elephant population of the Cardamom Rainforest in the last decade.

In the early 2000s the Cardamom Rainforest was an elephant and tiger poaching hotspot – between 2000 and in 2006, 37 wild Asian elephants were poached in the Cardamoms. In a response to this poaching crisis Wildlife Alliance has been supporting the Royal Government of Cambodia in 2002 with effective patrolling and law enforcement across the landscape. Since 2006, over 24,000 multi-agency law enforcement patrols have removed more than 140,000 snares and sent 300 offenders to court. For more details, read our press release in English and Khmer.

Falsified permits are fuelling global illegal wildlife trade

July 29, 2016, The Star Malaysia publication: Wildlife Alliance Science and Global Development director Dr Thomas Gray said the exotic pet trade, even if legal, contributed to animal poaching from the wild. “In many circumstances, it is used to launder animals caught in the wild as ‘commercially bred’.

“Many CITES permits are fake as it is physically impossible for all the ‘captive bred’ reptiles traded globally to come from genuine and well-managed captive facilities,” said Gray. He said the ownership of exotic animals as pets should be discouraged. Click here to read the full article.

WILDLIFE ALLIANCE & MONG RETHTHY GROUP PARTNER TO INCREASE WATER SUPPLY TO DROUGHT STRICKEN VILLAGE

Sovanna Baitong, Koh Kong: This morning Wildlife Alliance and Mong Reththy Group held a joint inauguration ceremony of the water reservoir, bridge and road. High-ranking officials from Mong Reththy Group, Wildlife Alliance, local authorities will join this ceremony, along with 150 villagers.

Wildlife Alliance partners with Mong Reththy Group to help local farmers to adapt to climate change by increasing their water supply as they face extended drought period. With this year’s worst drought in the history of Koh Kong province, the village of Sovanna Baitong saw its water reservoir completely dried up in March, which had never occurred before. Villagers had no more water for their families and their farm irrigation system. H.E. Oknha Mong Reththy came to the rescue of these families by helping Wildlife Alliance to retrofit the village water reservoir, making it deeper and adding the vital spill-gate that was missing. As part of Oknha’s contribution, was the complete construction of a new bridge and upgrading of the 2.5 km access road.

Thanks to H.E. Oknha Mong Reththy’s technical expertise and timely assistance, the new structure is now ready for the next drought season and for year-round production of the fruit and vegetables that the farmers depend on for their livelihoods.

“This partnership will help boost economic development and reduce poverty in the Southwestern region,” said Suwanna Gauntlett, CEO and founder of Wildlife Alliance.

From personal experience, the businessman explained he had experienced poverty after the war. "I was poor once," said H.E. Oknha Mong Reththy. "As a successful businessman, giving back to the community is an obligation." Joining forces with NGO Wildlife Alliance to improve the livelihoods of poor farming families was an opportunity to help contribute to Cambodia's rural development he added.

This event was published in Daum Ampil on-line news agency in Khmer language. 

Golden Cat of the Cardamom’s

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 two golden cat skins destined for the international market 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.

Smuggler Arrested for Wildlife Trafficking in Banteay Meanchey

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.

Body parts of Sun Bear

Body parts of Sun Bear

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 driver's 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 trader's 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.

CEO Met with H.E. Sao Sopheap, Director of the Environment Minister’s Cabinet

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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 & Rhett Butler, Mongabay founder, Went Trekking

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)."

Wildlife Alliance Launches Khmer App to Combat Widllife Trafficking

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.

Camera-traps capture Cambodia’s threatened mountain goat

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.

 

Rangers Rescued Slow Lorises from Smugglers

Our forest rangers ambushed a trafficker smuggling 4 rare slow loris primates out of the Southern Cardamom rainforest, which ended up in a mad pursuit where the man, desperate to escape, threw the animals on the road at 40 miles an hour in front of incoming traffic and sped off. The rangers were able to save the primates, but one unfortunately died.

The survivors were given immediate first aid and then carried to our wildlife rescue center in Phnom Tamao for care. They are doing with fine now and we hope to release them back into the wild once they have fully recovered.