Members of the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) recently investigated a lead about a suspected wildlife trader. The information about the trader came from someone in their informant network. Informants are incentivized to provide the WRRT with detailed tips because they are now compensated based on the quality of the information they provide. This policy mitigates the WRRT receiving and investigating fake leads. In this case, the WRRT’s follow-up surveillance and investigation confirmed that a wildlife trade network operated from the reported house. Local hunters brought wildlife to the house, where it was stored for short periods of time before being transported across the border to Vietnam to be sold. The traders sold the wildlife in Vietnam because they can receive higher prices across the border than in Cambodia.
The WRRT members surrounded the trader’s house and contacted local Forestry Administration (FA) officials and prosecuting staff to assist with the search. The team found and rescued 85 lesser whistling ducks and seized a motorcycle used to transport wildlife. The team hoped the ducks would be in good enough condition to be released back into their native habitat immediately, but were not so lucky. The ducks’ wings had been clipped, preventing them from being able to fly. The WRRT transported the ducks to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC) to be cared for until their flight feathers grow back and they can safely be released back into the wild. The trader was apprehended and conveyed to the local FA office, where he declined to answer any questions or confess to any trading. He will appear in court to answer to wildlife trading charges.
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.