Through our Combating Wildlife Trafficking grant program, we have supported some of the continuing activities of the Wildlife Alliance‘s Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team, such as helping the Cambodian government to institutionalize a national wildlife crime program by training additional wildlife officers. The program aims to protect Cambodia’s endangered wildlife including Asian elephants, leopards, Malayan sunbears, and pangolins.
The numbers are impressive. Since 2001, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team has seized over 70,000 live animals, 30 tons of bush meat, over 30 tons of body parts (for use in traditional Chinese medicine) and arrested close to 4,000 illegal wildlife traders.
This image shows the results of a 2014 raid. The office of the China Sichuan & Chongqing Chamber of Commerce in Phnom Penh was in fact a wildlife skinning operation that was exporting skins to China. It was using Chamber of Commerce as a front. The rescue team seized 19 clouded leopard skins, 2 asian golden cat skins, 3 leopard skins (1 fake), and 10 otter skins. A Chinese National was arrested in conjuction with the raid, and given the maximum penalty under law to pay approximately $25,000.
The Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team has received an award for “Best Wildlife Law Enforcement Unit in Asia” by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment).
Source: USFWS International Affairs