Successful Release of Critically Endangered Pangolin!

The Wildlife Release Station, which is designed specifically for the rehabilitation and release of rescued animals, recently released a captive born male pangolin.  The Sunda pangolin is critically endangered so every successful release of this species is a major triumph for both Wildlife Alliance and the species.  Pangolins are extremely sensitive creatures that rarely survive in captivity.  The release station, however, far from the smog and noise of the city, is an ideal place for our rescued pangolins to recover.  Our dedicated keepers go out into the forest every day to collect fresh ants for the pangolins and ensure they remain in a stress free environment.  This young pangolin was born at the center to a mom who had lost her foot to a snare and unfortunately cannot be released.  The young male was ready to be released at the beginning of the year and was fitted with a transmitter, which are always attached to animals before they are released with sufficient time to ensure it is working well.  However, after the pangolin was fitted with a transmitter, conditions were unusually dry because of an unrelenting severe drought.  Just to be safe, we decided to wait until environmental conditions improved, which resulted in the transmitter being attached three and a half months before the rains began again.

Wildlife Alliance executes ‘soft’ releases that allow the animals to become acclimatized to their new environment.  By providing supplementary food and monitoring the animals’ behavior after release, we have dramatically increased survival rates.  Unlike other pangolins we have released, this pangolin returned to his enclosure most nights during the first week of his release and ate the ants we provided for him outside his enclosure.  We think that because he was captive born and his mother was still being cared for at the center, this pangolin was different.  However, he soon began moving further into the forest and into denser vegetation, always moving at night and hiding in a tree hollow or hole in the ground during the day.  About a month after his release, the signals from his transmitter became weaker and eventually stopped transmitting.  The transmitter batteries likely died prematurely as a result of the transmitter being attached so early prior to his release.  Despite his slow start, we are happy this little guy is getting along well in the wild, and giving this critically endangered species a hope for survival.  

You can learn more about how Wildlife Alliance cares for and releases rescued wildlife by booking a tour to stay at the Wildlife Release Station in Cambodia!  There, you can help keepers track and monitor the collars and transmitters of released wildlife.  But you don’t have to go to Cambodia to help; you can sponsor this pangolin’s mother, Lucy, who will remain at the Rehabilitation Station due to her injuries.  Her offspring will join this young male in the wild and help recover the critically endangered Sunda pangolin population.

Celebrating 10 Years of Zero Elephant Poaching

This year, Wildlife Alliance is celebrating ten years of zero elephant poaching in the Cardamom Rainforest.  This monumental achievement is a result of the direct protection Wildlife Alliance has provided.  In the early 2000s, the Cardamom Rainforest was a hotspot for elephant and tiger poaching.  Between 2000 and 2006, 37 wild Asian elephants were poached in the Cardamoms.  In response to this crisis, Wildlife Alliance partnered with the Cambodian government to increase effective patrolling and law enforcement.  “Achieving zero elephant poaching for more than a decade in the Cardamoms is a fantastic achievement and demonstrates that investing in law enforcement is the best way to achieve conservation results,” says Wildlife Alliance’s CEO, Suwanna Gauntlett. 

Since 2006, the Southern Cardamom Forest Protection Program (SCFPP) rangers have gone on over 24,000 patrols, have removed over 140,000 snares, and have sent 300 offenders to court, leaving the forests they protect safe for elephants to roam free.  Dr. Thomas Gray, Wildlife Alliance’s Director of Science, explained, “With the global poaching crisis, an estimated 30,000 elephants are being killed yearly to supply increasing demand for illegal ivory products. Thus, we cannot be complacent.” By directly protecting the 1.7 million acres (720,000 hectares) of the South West Elephant Corridor, Wildlife Alliance is providing the endangered Asian elephant with a safe corridor to move between protected landscapes.

Join the Elephant Alliance today to help us ensure that Cambodia goes another decade without any elephant poaching!

Help Build a Free Flight Aviary at Phnom Tamao

September 21st, is Bonus Day on GlobalGiving and Wildlife Alliance is launching a new campaign to build a Free Flight Aviary at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center.  The Wildlife Rapid Recue Team (WRRT) frequently rescues birds from the illegal wildlife trade and brings them to Phnom Tamao for care and rehabilitation.  In 2015, the WRRT rescued 1,715 birds from wildlife traders, which was over half of all the animals the team rescued that year.  Thankfully, some of these birds were healthy enough to be released back into the wild immediately after they were rescued.  Many of the birds that are rescued, however, are not well enough for immediate release and are taken to Phnom Tamao for care and rehabilitation.  Providing the rescued birds with a Free Flight Aviary will improve their health and wellbeing by allowing them to socialize and exercise.  The aviary will be big enough to house many birds and allow them all to walk around and even fly.  The new enclosure will allow the birds to exhibit their natural behaviors, which will help prepare them for release back into the wild. 

All GlobalGiving donations to help build this aviary on September 21 will be matched at 30%.  $30,000 in matching funds will be available beginning at 6:00 AM EDT and another $30,000 in matching funds will be available beginning at 12:00 PM EDT.  The gift matching will last until the end of the day or when funds run out, but funds usually run out quickly.  GlobalGiving will also award $1,000 to the projects with the highest number of unique donors and the project that raises the most funds on Bonus Day.  Don’t forget to mark your calendars to donate to this campaign, or any of Wildlife Alliance’s GlobalGiving campaigns, to maximize your impact.

Forest Rangers Free Civet from Poacher’s Snare

The Steung Proat Patrol Unit was traversing the forest on motor bikes and by foot when they found a live civet trapped in a snare.  Carefully, the rangers freed the civet from the poacher’s snare and found it was unharmed.  After rescuing the animal, the rangers released the civet back into the forest, giving it a second chance at life.  On the same day, the rangers collected 223 snares from the forest.  Snares are particularly detrimental because they are easy to set, are a low cost and provide a high reward for poachers.  After the trap is set, the poachers can leave, and the snares can trap any animal that crosses it, including critically endangered animals.  These animals will spend hours struggling to break free, often chewing away at their trapped foot, before they die of exhaustion.  Each year, Wildlife Alliance’s forest rangers remove approximately 30,000 snares from the forest – saving countless lives.  The rangers also dismantled two illegal camps in the protected area.  The camps were likely set up by poachers or illegal loggers.  Unfortunately, the offenders were not in the area when the camps were discovered or searched so they could not be apprehended.  

The Southern Cardamom Forest Protection Program (SCFPP) consists of 6 ranger stations that each patrols an average of 100,000 km of forest per year.  In 2015, the forest rangers went on 2,592 patrols, removed 27,714 snares, removed 473 illegal camps, submitted 65 cases to court, and seized 240 cubic meters of illegal timber.  To help the SCFPP rangers patrol the forest and protect it from poachers and illegal loggers, visit our donation page and select ‘Forest Protection’ from the list.