Community Anti-Poaching Units (CAPU)

In Cambodia, wildlife protection requires continuous patrolling and law enforcement follow-up.*

Our CAPU model benefits both endangered species and local communities whose livelihoods depend on natural resources. Improved wildlife protection indirectly benefits over 3,600 families in Phnom Tamao Protected Forest (PTPF) with livelihoods linked to tourism at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre (PTWRC). In addition, monitoring data is essential for management of sustainable wildlife populations at key conservation sites, including those which do not enjoy formal protected area status. Here, the will of local communities to protect native wildlife is all that stands in the way of their extirpation. We support local communities to protect the precious forest and wildlife in their backyards. 

Chi Phat CAPU

Chi Phat in the southwestern Cardamoms is home to a few thousand people – and a multitude of wildlife. For decades, the village was a hub for logging and poaching. 

But in 2007, Chi Phat was reborn. With our support, the village transformed into a nature lover’s paradise through its establishment as a Community Based Ecotourism (CBET) site. For the villagers, this meant less dependence upon the forest, for the wildlife it meant increased freedom from persecution. 

At the same time, the Community Anti-Poaching Unit (CAPU) patrols started in Chi Phat to enable the community to take an active role in protecting the forest around their homes. 

Their patrols became even more important in 2014 following the establishment of the nearby Wildlife Release Station (WRS), one of our three major release sites for wildlife, including animals often starting a new life after their rehabilitation at Phnom Tamao wildlife rescue center. CAPU patrols, supported by Wildlife Alliance rangers from the nearby Stung Proat station are essential to ensure a safe habitat for resident wildlife and for animals returned to the forest at Wildlife Release Station

CAPU’s operations not only hold a conservation value, but the increase in the variety and density of wildlife helps our livelihoods projects by attracting more visitors to Chi Phat, thereby ensuring a sustainable income for the local community.

The addition of National Park Rangers from the Ministry of Environment in 2016 enabled the community patrol team to take firmer action on illegal activities happening in their backyard. Together, the community patrols have the authority to remove snares, dismantle hunting camps, remove people from the forest carrying hunting equipment and apprehend hunters in possession of wildlife, whether dead or alive. This capability, combined with a comprehensive knowledge of Cambodia’s wildlife laws, enforcement options and maximum penalties ensures proper prosecutions of offenders.

Today, the 12-strong patrol teams are made up of community members, rangers from the Ministry of Environment and a technical officer from Wildlife Alliance. Since the implementation of the team wildlife is slowly returning to the area. As a result of CAPU patrols, we are now seeing the return of Endangered species, including dhole, sun bear and clouded leopard.

Chi Phat CAPU

Chi Phat in the southwestern Cardamoms is home to a few thousand people – and a multitude of wildlife. For decades, the village was a hub for logging and poaching. 

But in 2007, Chi Phat was reborn. With our support, the village transformed into a nature lover’s paradise through its establishment as a Community Based Ecotourism (CBET) site. For the villagers, this meant less dependence upon the forest, for the wildlife it meant increased freedom from persecution. 

At the same time, the Community Anti-Poaching Unit (CAPU) patrols started in Chi Phat to enable the community to take an active role in protecting the forest around their homes. 

Their patrols became even more important in 2014 following the establishment of the nearby Wildlife Release Station (WRS), one of our three major release sites for wildlife, including animals often starting a new life after their rehabilitation at Phnom Tamao wildlife rescue center. CAPU patrols, supported by Wildlife Alliance rangers from the nearby Stung Proat station are essential to ensure a safe habitat for resident wildlife and for animals returned to the forest at Wildlife Release Station

CAPU’s operations not only hold a conservation value, but the increase in the variety and density of wildlife helps our livelihoods projects by attracting more visitors to Chi Phat, thereby ensuring a sustainable income for the local community.

The addition of National Park Rangers from the Ministry of Environment in 2016 enabled the community patrol team to take firmer action on illegal activities happening in their backyard. Together, the community patrols have the authority to remove snares, dismantle hunting camps, remove people from the forest carrying hunting equipment and apprehend hunters in possession of wildlife, whether dead or alive. This capability, combined with a comprehensive knowledge of Cambodia’s wildlife laws, enforcement options and maximum penalties ensures proper prosecutions of offenders.

Today, the 12-strong patrol teams are made up of community members, rangers from the Ministry of Environment and a technical officer from Wildlife Alliance. Since the implementation of the team wildlife is slowly returning to the area. As a result of CAPU patrols, we are now seeing the return of Endangered species, including dhole, sun bear and clouded leopard.

Phnom Tamao Protected Forest (PTPF) CAPU

Wildlife Alliance rescues animals from the illegal wildlife trade, and brings them to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre (PTWRC) where they are rehabilitated and, where possible, released.

Set in over 2,000 hectares of forest, PTWRC is fortunate enough to be able to release animals in our backyard, thanks to Phnom Tamao Protected Forest (PTPF) CAPU patrolling the area.

CAPU patrols within PTFP were initiated at the request of Mr Nhek Ratanapich, the Forestry Administration Director of PTWRC. As with other CAPU units, the team patrols to reduce threats in the forest by preventing logging, removing snares, bird nets and other devices which impact wildlife populations. 

Our captive breeding programs at PTWRC support both in situ and ex situ conservation of threatened species, with PTPF one of a handful of release sites. The forest is home to thousands of animals released from PTWRC, including endangered species which are highly prized by poachers, and therefore at high risk. There are also populations of species now listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. Ensuring that animals released into the forest survive and thrive is essential.

PTPF is a critical conservation site which can sustain wildlife populations, if habitat protection continues. Boots on the ground in the PTPF means lethal poaching devices are removed; fewer are set over time, with the ultimate goal of zero poaching of target species.

Phnom Tamao Protected Forest (PTPF) CAPU

Wildlife Alliance rescues animals from the illegal wildlife trade, and brings them to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre (PTWRC) where they are rehabilitated and, where possible, released.

Set in over 2,000 hectares of forest, PTWRC is fortunate enough to be able to release animals in our backyard, thanks to Phnom Tamao Protected Forest (PTPF) CAPU patrolling the area.

CAPU patrols within PTFP were initiated at the request of Mr Nhek Ratanapich, the Forestry Administration Director of PTWRC. As with other CAPU units, the team patrols to reduce threats in the forest by preventing logging, removing snares, bird nets and other devices which impact wildlife populations. 

Our captive breeding programs at PTWRC support both in situ and ex situ conservation of threatened species, with PTPF one of a handful of release sites. The forest is home to thousands of animals released from PTWRC, including endangered species which are highly prized by poachers, and therefore at high risk. There are also populations of species now listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. Ensuring that animals released into the forest survive and thrive is essential.

PTPF is a critical conservation site which can sustain wildlife populations, if habitat protection continues. Boots on the ground in the PTPF means lethal poaching devices are removed; fewer are set over time, with the ultimate goal of zero poaching of target species.

Kampong Speu CAPU

Banteng Site 1

The first CAPU team was established to safeguard a highly threatened species of wild cattle, banteng. The latest IUCN Red List assessment, puts the global population of banteng at around 8,000, of which over half are concentrated in eastern Cambodia.  Scientists believed Bos javinicus was extirpated from Southwest Cambodia until villagers desperate to protect the banteng in their backyard appealed for help on Facebook and were befriended by Wildlife Alliance staff. 

In fact, a self-assembled team of 16 community members had been working in isolation to ensure the survival of the wild herds on their doorstep since 2003.

As luck would have it, the community’s efforts came to our attention. First, their social media hailmar, then a poaching incident in 2018: an endangered bull banteng was shot and Wildlife Alliance rangers from the nearby Chambok Patrol Station apprehended one of the poachers.

Since then, we have supported the community rangers who have limited means for patrolling the forest. Every month, Wildlife Alliance provides a stipend and equipment to the team. In addition, we have built pools to provide watering holes for wildlife during the dry season. 

Our involvement has meant an improvement in support from the government, plus donations of equipment from private companies and individuals. This project will continue to safeguard these sites and strengthen the CAPU team’s capacity to manage patrols and monitor wildlife using GPS devices, reinforced by camera-trapping of banteng and other wildlife in the area. 

This CAPU enhances the community’s efforts to protect, monitor and

manage a globally significant banteng population.

The success of this project has encouraged us to extend our input to other areas where local people are trying to protect their wildlife, in trying circumstances, with no external support.

Kampong Speu CAPU

Banteng Site 1

The first CAPU team was established to safeguard a highly threatened species of wild cattle, banteng. The latest IUCN Red List assessment, puts the global population of banteng at around 8,000, of which over half are concentrated in eastern Cambodia.  Scientists believed Bos javinicus was extirpated from Southwest Cambodia until villagers desperate to protect the banteng in their backyard appealed for help on Facebook and were befriended by Wildlife Alliance staff. 

In fact, a self-assembled team of 16 community members had been working in isolation to ensure the survival of the wild herds on their doorstep since 2003.

As luck would have it, the community’s efforts came to our attention. First, their social media hailmar, then a poaching incident in 2018: an endangered bull banteng was shot and Wildlife Alliance rangers from the nearby Chambok Patrol Station apprehended one of the poachers.

Since then, we have supported the community rangers who have limited means for patrolling the forest. Every month, Wildlife Alliance provides a stipend and equipment to the team. In addition, we have built pools to provide watering holes for wildlife during the dry season. 

Our involvement has meant an improvement in support from the government, plus donations of equipment from private companies and individuals. This project will continue to safeguard these sites and strengthen the CAPU team’s capacity to manage patrols and monitor wildlife using GPS devices, reinforced by camera-trapping of banteng and other wildlife in the area. 

This CAPU enhances the community’s efforts to protect, monitor and

manage a globally significant banteng population.

The success of this project has encouraged us to extend our input to other areas where local people are trying to protect their wildlife, in trying circumstances, with no external support.

Other sites

Oddar Meanchey

In the northeast corner of Cambodia is Oddar Meanchey province where another revered monk, Bun Saluth is leading conservation efforts. The forest covers a large area in excess of 30,000 hectares and is home to Endangered species, including bears, green peafowl, Eld’s deer, banteng.  Bun Saluth is well known in Cambodia for his conservation work, for which he has won International awards. 

While Bun receives some help from other organisations, ‘on the ground’ support from the government is limited. To date, Wildlife Alliance has provided equipment, including GPS units, short wave radios, camera traps and uniforms for 17 community rangers for work tirelessly to reduce threats to precious wildlife in their forest.

Oddar Meanchey

In the northeast corner of Cambodia is Oddar Meanchey province where another revered monk, Bun Saluth is leading conservation efforts. The forest covers a large area in excess of 30,000 hectares and is home to Endangered species, including bears, green peafowl, Eld’s deer, banteng.  Bun Saluth is well known in Cambodia for his conservation work, for which he has won International awards. 

While Bun receives some help from other organisations, ‘on the ground’ support from the government is limited. To date, Wildlife Alliance has provided equipment, including GPS units, short wave radios, camera traps and uniforms for 17 community rangers for work tirelessly to reduce threats to precious wildlife in their forest.

Banteng Site 2

A short distance from the first site in Kampong Speu, another concerted effort is being made by local community members to protect their wildlife. Here, a monk is leading the charge. His love and dedication to wildlife is clear: he hand feeds the tame resident green peafowl daily, as well as looking out for other threatened species, including silvered langurs, pileated gibbons, civets, porcupines, sambar, muntjac and mouse deer. 

The forest is very dry and construction of another watering hole for wildlife is complete. The monk himself is under threat from locals who have other plans for the forest. Wildlife Alliance is working to ensure the sincere and courageous efforts of this monk do not go unrewarded, by supporting his patrols and advocating for strengthening protection of this small but significant patch of forest. 

Banteng Site 2

A short distance from the first site in Kampong Speu, another concerted effort is being made by local community members to protect their wildlife. Here, a monk is leading the charge. His love and dedication to wildlife is clear: he hand feeds the tame resident green peafowl daily, as well as looking out for other threatened species, including silvered langurs, pileated gibbons, civets, porcupines, sambar, muntjac and mouse deer. 

The forest is very dry and construction of another watering hole for wildlife is complete. The monk himself is under threat from locals who have other plans for the forest. Wildlife Alliance is working to ensure the sincere and courageous efforts of this monk do not go unrewarded, by supporting his patrols and advocating for strengthening protection of this small but significant patch of forest. 

*The Forestry Administration (FA) is the Government entity responsible for: 

1) managing the PTPF; 

2) enforcing wildlife laws on all state-owned unprotected forest land