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.
Sep 7, 2012

Successful Elephant Rescue

Rescue Team
Rescue Team

Sakor, a 16 year old male elephant, installed himself along Koh Kong province’s main thoroughfare, Road 48, early this year causing snarls in traffic, destroying telephone poles, and infiltrating villages and plantations.  For several months plantation workers and villagers have taunted him and angry truck drivers have attempted to push him off the road.  One such incident in May resulted in a wound to his front leg and as recently as August 25, his presence on the road caused two cars to collide.  As the situation escalated in the spring and summer, officials worried that the elephant would be killed or people would be harmed or both.  At the end of May, the provincial governor of Koh Kong requested that the Forestry Administration, with the assistance of Wildlife Alliance, remove Sakor for his safety and the safety of the people living in the area.

After two failed rescue attempts in July and early August, information arrived on Saturday, August 25th that Sakor was once again causing problems on the road.  The patrol unit from Stung Proat Station – the station that has been monitoring the situation since January – was immediately dispatched to the site, where they secured an area around the elephant and fed him, keeping him calm until the rescue team could arrive.

Shortly thereafter, the rescue team, led by Forestry Administration veterinarian Nhim Thy and Wildlife Programs Director Nick Marx, arrived on scene and began the rescue process.  However, after successfully tranquilizing Sakor, he ran off into the forest before the anesthetic could take effect.  After tracking him down, it was determined that he was too far from the road for the truck and transport crate to reach him.  They were going to need more equipment.

First, a road needed to be created through the forest with a bulldozer.  After a bulldozer was found and the road smoothed, the path was still not passable as the ground was extremely wet, making it too muddy and treacherous for the truck to get through.  So the team secured an excavator that could lift the transport crate into the forest where Sakor could get inside, and then lift elephant and crate together back to the main road.  After four hours of slow, careful driving, the excavator emerged from the forest with the elephant in the crate.

On August 27th, the crate was lifted on to a truck and the team set off for Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, which is to be Sakor’s new home.  He joins 5 other rescued Asian elephants who reside there, including Chhouk, the elephant with a prosthetic foot, whose previous rescue enclosure Sakor has now moved into.  After three long days and several false starts, Sakor is now safe and thriving at Phnom Tamao under the care of Wildlife Alliance’s animal husbandry specialists and veterinarians, all of whom have been providing full time care to the rescued elephants at Phnom Tamao since 2003.

But the process does not end here.  Sakor will need food, medicine, treatment and care for the long term and he will eventually need an enclosure of his own that suits his specific needs.  To help Wildlife Alliance care for Sakor, make a donation today.  Please visit our donation page and choose Care for Rescued Wildlife from the dropdown menu.

Sep 5, 2012

Back to School on the Kouprey Express

Wildlife Alliance’s mobile environmental education unit, the Kouprey Express (KE), has been growing over the past year by creating some important partnerships both within and outside of the organization.  KE’s mandate is to work with schools and communities in Koh Kong Province, the hub of Wildlife Alliance’s field activities, to teach about wildlife and habitat conservation and sustainability in all aspects of life.  However, limiting their activities to just one province has meant that their lessons have not been able to reach countrywide.  Recently, the KE has been increasing its outreach to other parts of the country by partnering with other NGOs – to great acclaim.  The team collaborated with organizations such as New Hope for Orphans, Community Home Care for Women, and the National Borei (Orphanage) for Infants and Children to conduct field trips to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center for these organization’s constituents.  All of these NGOs operate in various provinces throughout the country, some of which are known wildlife trafficking hubs.  These trips are all the more vital based on that knowledge and they have been very successful in opening the eyes of participants to the plight of Cambodia’s wildlife.

One trip in particular was notable for its ability to reach rural villagers who have almost no opportunity to learn about the wildlife and forest destruction that is directly affecting them.  The KE team collaborated with Poh Kao, an organization working to protect wildlife in remote Rattanakiri Province in the northeast, to bring 20 rural villagers to see wildlife at the rescue center.  This was a very important trip because these villagers, most of whom are ethnic minorities, live entirely in the forest near the Lao border and wildlife trafficking and forest destruction is having a devastating effect on their lives, as they depend on the forest for sustenance.  These participants are from villages so remote that many of them had never seen a car before this trip.  One woman and her son walked 40 kilometers through the forest to get to the nearest village so they could join the trip.  During this visit to PTWRC, the KE team had the children draw wildlife they have seen personally around their homes and many of them drew gibbons.  The community members now know the wildlife rescue hotline and excellent collaboration was established between Wildlife Alliance and Poh Kao with the aim of protection of all wildlife.

Furthermore, the KE team has been collaborating with Wildlife Alliance’s own Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) to increase the effectiveness of their message.  One of KE’s program activities is to produce Community Night Shows in various villages throughout Koh Kong to reach community members outside of the classroom.  In March, KE collaborated with the WRRT to put on a special Community Night Show.  The WRRT Project Manager, one Military Police officer, and a Forestry Administration officer, gave a presentation and spoke to the crowds, which numbered around 500, about the urgency of wildlife and forest conservation and the need to work together to stop illegal wildlife trafficking. This provided an important opportunity for community members to understand that the WRRT is there to help them and to also reduce the understandable fear many Cambodians have of government and law enforcement officials. The WRRT presentation was followed by a slideshow highlighting threats to wildlife and the urgent need to protect them.  This particular night show was especially well-attended and appreciated and, depending on the operations schedule of the WRRT, the KE will continue to collaborate with them on community outreach efforts.  To help the Kouprey Express team as they extend their efforts countrywide, visit our donation page and choose Kouprey Express from the dropdown menu.

Sep 5, 2012

Forest Patrollers Take to the Sky

Forest Ranger Surveying Land
Forest Ranger Surveying Land

On June 14, 2012, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen announced a new land titling policy for villagers living inside state forests, economic land concessions, and former timber concessions. This new policy granted land titles to individuals pending mapping and occupancy history projects to be undertaken by each province within six months. Tens of thousands of families are currently embroiled in land disputes and this policy has the potential to clear up many of those issues. However, with its pointed mention of protected and previously zoned lands, it also has the potential to encourage anarchic land-grabbing in protected forest areas and outside of community development land. There are thousands of people living in the Southern Cardamoms who will be affected by this policy and our Forest Patrol teams, in collaboration with our Zoning and Demarcation team, have taken to the skies to do aerial surveys to assist local officials in ensuring that protected areas stay protected and villagers do not participate in land-grabbing that cannot be verified later.

Issues like this require immediate action and because Wildlife Alliance is on the ground every day, we are able to work quickly in response to zoning and land tenure disputes. During the first week of July, our team conducted an aerial survey, marking new houses and areas of deforestation, and even encountering an illegal logging operation in the process. Wildlife Alliance CEO Suwanna Gauntlett met with Koh Kong Provincial Governor, H.E. Bun Leut, the next week to discuss Wildlife Alliance’s concerns and the potential problems inherent in the new land measurement project. Wildlife Alliance supports land tenure for villagers, as the sustainable cultivation of one’s own land ensures the protection of the surrounding habitat, but we want to guarantee that this project is undertaken systematically and responsibly. Youth teams departed from Phnom Penh that same week to take part in the land measurement project organized by the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction. Four trucks carrying these teams arrived at the Governor’s Mansion on their way to the field where they were greeted by officials and the Wildlife Alliance team. Wildlife Alliance donated food and supplies to the teams as they head out to measure land over the next few weeks.

Check out our Facebook page for more pictures in the album Forest Patrollers Take to the Sky and the album Land
Measurement Commences
.  Visit our donation page to help our Forest Patrol and Zoning and Demarcation teams as they labor under this new decree.

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