Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC) is home to more than 1,200 animals, with new arrivals coming every day. Some arrivals teach us important lessons about the perils of wildlife poaching, and some arrivals make a bigger splash (pun intended!) than others.
In late 2013, two dhole pups arrived to PTWRC badly injured after being caught in snare traps. Dholes are a species of wild dog that inhabits a large region extending from India to China/Siberia and south throughout most of Southeast Asia. The dhole is listed by the IUCN as Endangered, primarily due to habitat loss caused by human development. One of the pup’s injuries was so severe that one of his front legs had to be amputated. Snare injuries can be devastating to wildlife. The indiscriminate nature of hunting with snares means that all animals in the wild are threatened by them. Thankfully, both injured dholes have recovered and are doing very well due to the care provided by our resident veterinarians. These pups provide a unique opportunity for us to initiate a breeding program in 2014 with the goal of eventually reintroducing dholes into the wild. Mother-raised dholes would make excellent candidates for release at our Wildlife Rehabilitation Station in Koh Kong.
Our other recent arrivals came via “stork” rather than rescue by the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team. After happily and uneventfully living together for years at PTWRC, a pair of smooth-coated otters surprised us by successfully producing four baby otters at the end of 2013! Smooth-coated otters are also suffering from population decline due to loss of wetlands, habitat degradation, and unlawful hunting. Despite the eagerness and enthusiasm surrounding the arrival of the infant otters, PTWRC staff and visitors had to temper their excitement as the babies had to be closely cared for behind the scenes to ensure their first few months were healthy ones. After a few months of growing stronger away from the public eye, the young otters have recently moved into a public enclosure and have been interacting with PTWRC visitors and making quite the scene!
As can be seen with the injured dhole pups and the delicate otter infants, the animals that Wildlife Alliance cares for at PTWRC are continually strengthening and thriving. With the constant addition of animals to PTWRC that are victimized by the illegal wildlife trade, new enclosures and enrichment materials are necessary to provide them with the care they deserve. We are hoping to be able to build two new, large enclosures in 2014 for the dhole pups and the otters to provide these animals with the best care and lifestyle possible!