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.