The Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) is an animal police unit that investigates and cracks down on the transnational illegal wildlife trade. Over the last decade, the unit has seized over 61,000 live animals, 36 tons of bush meat and body parts, and arrested 3,100 traffickers.
In 2015 the WRRT received the United Nations award for best wildlife law enforcement in Asia.
Animals around the world are threatened by factors ranging from climate change to habitat loss, but perhaps the most pressing threat they face today is poaching. Estimated to worth US $19 billion annually, the illegal wildlife trade has escalated from a conservation issue to a worldwide criminal enterprise that is decimating wildlife populations and increasingly being linked to terrorism.
Some of the horror stories we have witnessed are live macaques exported as delicacy foods for their brains to beaten while still alive, live bears sold to bear bile farms where they are exploited their entire life inside small cages with milking machines pumping out their bile every day, and pangolins boiled alive in enormous pressure cookers to harvest their scales.
THE WILDLIFE ALLIANCE Approach
WRRT is a close-knit team of government officers who are putting their life on the line to save helpless wild animals from cruel suffering and death. Led by the Forestry Administration with four judicial police, WRRT has the authority to investigate and crack down on wildlife crime all over the country of Cambodia, inside national parks, on roads, in cities, and on national borders. Military police from the Royale Gendarmerie provide security and law enforcement with eight officers. Wildlife Alliance provides animal husbandry, technical assistance for investigations, and financial support. We have two staff dedicated full time to the unit.
In 2014, the team was recognized by TRAFFIC who stated in its Bear Report that the WRRT is “the leading example in anti-wildlife trafficking law enforcement” with “high level of sustained enforcement and efficacious seizure”.
In 2012, WRRT received the Disney Conservation Hero Award.
Since 2011, the WRRT has served as Cambodia’s National Task Force for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN), responsible for interrupting cross-border wildlife trafficking.
The most recent achievement of Wildlife Alliance and WRRT is involvement in the arrest of an African ivory smuggler in cooperation with Customs (read more); training of Customs officers at two international airports and one international harbor resulting in 12 cases of African elephant ivory and rhino horn seizures over the last 24 months; and involvement in the investigation of a three-ton ivory shipment from Kenya through Cambodia to Laos.
To report wildlife crime in Cambodia, please call our 24-hour wildlife rescue hotline number at +855-012-500-094 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch the WRRT rescue animals from an illegal floating zoo in Siem Reap.