Profits from Nature

I am Suwanna Gauntlett.

I would like to share with you the challenges that I encounter in my job, protecting wildlife and rainforests in developing countries. I work in locations where action is needed the most, where wildlife is being decimated and rainforests are being burned down… not for survival of local people, but for greed of only a few.

Currently I lead a law enforcement team protecting one of the last great rainforests in Asia, the Cardamom Mountains. In 2001, I created an urban wildlife police that arrests illegal wildlife traders on national roads and borders and has seized 60,000 live animals and 39 tons of body parts/bushmeat. In 2002, I helped establish a forest ranger police that cracks down on illegal logging networks and wildlife poaching rings throughout the rainforest of the Cardamoms.

Born in San Francisco, I grew up in Brazil and France and have been saving animals since I can remember. This is a very special job and a very dangerous one. Many illegal forestland owners, heads of illegal logging rings, and wildlife kingpins resent me and my team for destroying their profits. Free profits from nature.

The Phnom Penh Post, a local newspaper here, issued today an article from my Facebook page “Coffee Trade Kills Civets”. I’d like to share with you what this is about: “In a call for arms, Wildlife Alliance detailed how atrocious practices saw palm civets barbarically hunted in protected forests, caged and force-fed coffee berries to meet recent spike in demand. The highly sought-after product, also known as Kopi Luwak, involves collecting coffee cherry pips from the feces of the palm civet to grind into coffee. Rangers in the Cardamom Conservation Corridor extracted roughly 936 snares designed to entrap the civets from the Cardamom Mountains. An officer (Suwanna Gauntlett) from the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) said hunters trapped the mammals by tempting them with fresh pineapple, but the snares often had disastrous results. “When we are able to save civets from the hunter traps, we often have to amputate them for them to survive.”

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