After receiving a tip from an informant, three Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) members immediately took action to stop an international wildlife trader from smuggling wildlife into Vietnam. Knowing the route he was travelling, the team members waited along a long and narrow village road for the man to appear. When they spotted his motorbike, a WRRT member ambushed the suspect and immediately confiscated his cell phone. As expected, the motorbike was fully loaded with wildlife. Acting quickly, the WRRT transported the offender, his motorbike, and the wildlife to the Forestry Administration office 20 kilometers away. In this encounter, the WRRT confiscated 97 spotted doves, 31 red collared doves and a rat snake as well as the offender’s motorbike. Due to the “agreement of solidarity” between Cambodian and Vietnamese boarder provinces, Cambodian police asked for no actions to be taken against the Vietnamese wildlife trafficker. However, the WRRT did not accept this suggestion and the offender was charged a $476 fine based on the Forestry Law guidelines concerning the illegal trade of common species.
Our informant network has been essential to stopping wildlife crime across Cambodia. However, it’s not just paid informants that the WRRT gets tips from. Using the Wildlife Crime Hotline, a civilian led the team to Sangkat Stung Meanchey in Phnom Penh, where four peafowl were drawing in crowds of people. When the WRRT arrived, one of the birds had already been shot dead by a man with a slingshot, who has since been apprehended and fined. The other three peafowl were rescued and brought to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center for a health assessment before they were released. Green peafowl are on the IUCN Red List as “Endangered” due to over hunting for their meat and feathers, collection of their eggs and chicks, and habitat loss. Thanks to Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Hotline and the WRRT, three of these beautiful and rare birds will be able to live in the wild and will not succumb to the fate of so many others of their species. Just last quarter, the WRRT received 515 phone calls to the hotline, helping them rescue 671 animals. To help the WRRT continue their successful operations, visit our ‘donate’ page and select ‘End Wildlife Trafficking.’
The WRRT is a Forestry Administration law enforcement unit led by the Forestry Administration, in cooperation with the Military Police, with technical and financial support from the Wildlife Alliance.