2016 has been an exciting year for us and we are extremely proud of what we have been able to achieve. Thanks to your support, we have continued to be at the forefront of wildlife conservation and forest protection in Southeast Asia, ensuring a better future for wildlife and wild places.
This year, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) conducted over 400 successful undercover operations, rescued over 3,200 animals from the illegal wildlife trade, apprehended more than 66 wildlife traders, and received over 1,400 calls to the wildlife crime hotline. The team continued to provide training to government and customs officials in wildlife trafficking identification and law enforcement. The success of these trainings was exemplified in a major airport bust, where customs officers successfully stopped a woman carrying 35 kg of rhino horn, valued between $3.5 million and $7 million, and called the WRRT to prepare the law enforcement documentation for the court. This incident was the 17th time the Customs Department has successfully intercepted African rhino horn and elephant ivory since being trained by the WRRT.
The Southern Cardamom forest rangers continue to safeguard nearly 2 million acres of rainforest. So far this year they have confiscated over 185 cubic meters of illegal timber, removed more than 13,500 snares, seized 11 illegal homemade guns, and confiscated over 475 chainsaws. These dedicated rangers go on over 2,500 patrols a year to protect the Southern Cardamoms and on April 25, the Minister of Environment declared that the land will officially be protected as a national park! Thanks to the incredible work of our rangers, Wildlife Alliance was also able to celebrate a decade of zero elephants poached in the Cardamoms! Earlier this year, our successful advocacy efforts, stopped the implementation of an economic land concession that would destruct vital habitat in Cambodia. This is the 37th land concession cancelled since we began working in the area in 2001 to keep this biodiversity hotspot intact.
In the past year, thousands of animals have found sanctuary at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center after their harrowing experience in the wildlife trade. Our Care for Rescued Wildlife program was able to release over 3,500 of these rescued animals back onto protected habitat and 72 animals were born or hatched at the rescue center. We also had an exciting baby announcement this year. A second gibbon was born to parents we released last year as part of our historic release program at Angkor Wat Archeological Park.
Thanks to your commitment, Wildlife Alliance has made great strides in 2016 in our on the ground protection to forests and wildlife. Help us make an even bigger impact in 2017 by making a donation today!