Recently the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) acted on a long running investigation involving the illegal transportation of wildlife from outlying provinces to Phnom Penh. According to an informant, a wildlife trader was paying bus passengers to transport illegal wildlife to Phnom Penh hidden in their luggage. After extensive surveillance and monitoring, the WRRT identified a suspect whom they believed to be responsible for collecting the wildlife from the passengers and taking it to the trader’s home.

The team staked out the bus stop and moved in when they observed the suspect meeting a female passenger who had arrived from Pursat province. They searched the passenger’s luggage and found 8 Tortoises, 3 Rat Snakes, 3 Water Snakes, a King Cobra, and a Python in her suitcase. Both suspects – the passenger and the transporter – were charged with illegal trafficking of wildlife and have been summoned to appear in court. The investigation has also led to the discovery of the main trader involved in this large operation, and a future raid targeting his home and business is expected after further surveillance. The rescued wildlife was released into suitable habitats in Andoung Teuk in Koh Kong province.

The WRRT works consistently and aggressively to end wildlife trafficking in Cambodia. However, increased community outreach and awareness efforts are needed to educate the public on the negative impact of wildlife trading and the consequences that can be faced from participating in this illegal activity. To help them in their efforts, visit our donation page and choose Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team from the dropdown menu.