Constant Vigilance: Essential to Stopping Wildlife Trafficking

A local informant recently tipped off the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) to a suspected wildlife trader in the outskirts of Stung Treng City. The WRRT used the information to conduct an investigation and identify the suspect. When the team raided the suspected trader’s house, they discovered a gruesome sight: a freshly killed douc langur, ten dried douc langurs, and six douc langur stomachs. Douc langurs are some of the most beautiful and rarest primates in the world. Of the three species of douc langurs, two are endangered and one is critically endangered, and all three have decreasing populations. Douc langurs continue to be targeted by poachers for their use in traditional medicine and for bushmeat, despite the fact that they are on the brink of extinction. The WRRT confiscated and destroyed the douc langur products and the trader was sent to court to face wildlife trading charges.

Days later, another informant tipped off the WRRT to illegal wildlife trading at the Stung Treng markets. Based on this information, the team raided the market and confiscated 5 live Bengal monitors, 2 live pygmy lorises, 3 dried lorises, 1 dried loris stomach, 2 live elongated tortoises, 34.5 Kg of freshly killed muntjac meat, and 83 Kg of freshly killed wild pig meat. Unfortunately, the market stalls were empty when the WRRT arrived so the offenders were not apprehended. Despite efforts to blend into the crowd, when the WRRT arrives at markets, word of their presence spreads quickly and traders abandon their stalls. Wildlife meat from this raid was later destroyed and the monitor lizards and the tortoises were released into nearby natural habitat. The two slow lorises were immediately transported to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center for a health assessment, pending possible release.

The Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team has informants throughout Cambodia who report any illegal wildlife trade they discover. The informants serve as the team’s eyes and ears all over the country and without them, wildlife trading would again be rampant and thousands less animals would be rescued. The Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team’s policies are constantly reviewed to optimize the invaluable information received through the informant network. To help the WRRT continue to stop wildlife trafficking and expand their informant network, please make a donation and select ‘End Wildlife Trafficking’ from the list of funds.

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.