Wildlife Alliance

Wildlife Alliance is the leader in direct protection to forests and wildlife in the Southeast Asian tropical belt. Our mission is to combat deforestation, extinction, climate change, and poverty by partnering with local communities and governments.
Dec 4, 2012

The Role of the Agriculture Association

The Agriculture Association
The Agriculture Association

In Sovanna Baitong, where Wildlife Alliance’s Community Agriculture Development Project (CADP) has been located since 2004, the community is made up of mostly former slash and burn farmers, illegal loggers, and wildlife poachers.  The target monthly income for participants was set at $40, roughly equivalent to what they were making through illegal activities. However, by the end of 2011, more than 42% of families were generating a monthly income of over USD $120. With this increase in income it has been essential to strengthen community values and create social cohesion through not only economic opportunities but also community empowerment.  For that reason, the Community Agriculture Association was created at the outset of the project and has been growing ever since.  The strengthening of civil society is vital for long term development, as these families previously lived in the forest and came from extreme isolation and poverty, with little knowledge about basic infrastructure necessary for community living. The Association functions to lead and manage the community’s agricultural production with the goal of self-sufficiency and sustainability.

The Community Agriculture Association helps villagers take managerial control of developing their community, so that they will be able to maintain and advance it well in to the future. It is made up of different service groups focusing on agriculture, marketing, credit, health, education, and natural resource management. These groups promote solidarity, cooperation, community participation, basic community services and biodiversity conservation. With constant innovation and evolution necessary for sustained development, 2011 saw the creation of a new service group, the Key Support Committee. The goal of this committee is to provide key development initiatives or projects for the community that will create additional revenues and new opportunities to the families. In the short time since its creation, the committee has been instrumental in the implementation of new projects such as cassava growing, choosing the site location for the new pre-school, repairing the mechanical bull, and creating a new system of water recording.

Due to the immense success of the Community Agriculture Development Project, the Association also works to promote these ideas throughout the country. Today, villagers of Sovanna Baitong are not only active participants on a regional scale, but also on a national level, leading the charge for alternative sustainable livelihoods, communal democratic management, and better stewardship of lands. 

Oct 16, 2012

Traffickers Apprehended with Bear Paws

While out on patrol on September 23, 2012, rangers from the Koh Pao ranger station stopped a boat carrying three women, a young man, and a small child.  As part of their patrol operations, the team stops all river traffic and searches boats and rafts for any illegal materials.  After searching through their bags, they uncovered four bear paws that the women were taking to sell on the black market.  The paws were confiscated and they were all taken into custody immediately.  The court let one of the women go after it was decided she was an innocent passenger, but the other women and the young man all face jail time.  Article 97 of Cambodian Forestry Law states that they could be sentenced to as many as 10 years in prison for this offense.  As Koh Pao station is located mere miles from the Thai border, they are often catching offenders trying to smuggle wildlife across state boundaries.

Demand for bear parts on the international black market is high and poachers and traffickers can fetch a high price for paws, hides, and gallbladders.  Paws are often used in traditional Asian medicine and are considered a delicacy in soup.  It is thought that eating bear paws can increase strength.  Because of this active trade in bears and bear parts, their populations – especially in Southeast Asia – have been decimated.  Bear species native to Cambodia like the Malayan sun bear and Asiatic black bear are both listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, due in no small part to poaching and trafficking.  Wildlife Alliance has been working since 2001 to end the trade of wildlife in Cambodia and throughout Southeast Asia.  Our efforts have not been entirely unsuccessful – one will rarely see bear paws being served in restaurants in Cambodia anymore. However, the international demand remains high and we must continue to do everything we can to ensure the long-term survival of bears in Southeast Asia.

Oct 16, 2012

Gaur Rescue in Kratie Province

Gaur
Gaur

On the evening of September 22nd, Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) received information that a young gaur had been snared in the forest near the small village of Ro Leark in the Chloung District in Kratie province, located northeast of Phnom Penh.  The animal’s mother was hovering close by, protecting her child, but making rescue dangerous and difficult.  Gaurs are the largest species of wild cattle, incredibly strong with large horns on their head, and have been known to be quite bold.  However, with few options of how to handle the situation, two members of the WRRT – along with Wildlife Alliance Wildlife Programs Director Nick Marx – headed off towards Kratie first thing the next morning.

Driving fast, the three reached Kratie in less than four hours – a seemingly impossible task.  They then traveled through miles of plantations and cleared forest until they arrived in Ro Leark.  From there they continued by ox cart for 45 minutes until reaching the location of the young, snared gaur.  Forestry Administration rangers had slept nearby the night before to protect the gaur, a 4 or 5 year old female.  By that point, the mother had abandoned her.  The gaur was exhausted but lucky, as the snare had not tightened completely around her leg.  She was lying down, with a few small injuries caused by her struggle to escape, but the snared limbed was uninjured and she needed little medical care.  After removing the snare from her leg and helping her to sit up, Nick offered her water and she drank, slowly regaining her strength.  Over the course of several hours, Nick continued to provide water, grass and cassava leaves.  She ate very little, but began to forage on the forest leaves around her.  She began to be troubled by the prolonged human presence and seeing as she had regained her strength and mobility, the team felt comfortable leaving her there and returned the village.

Upon return to Ro Leark, guards were found who were willing to monitor the gaur in the forest overnight and Forestry Administration officials in the village also agreed to ensure the animal’s continued safety.  The team from Wildlife Alliance stayed in the village overnight in case there were any further issues.  By the next morning, the team received information that the gaur had disappeared into the forest and so with a successful rescue completed, the team returned to Phnom Penh.

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