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.
May 20, 2014

New Arrivals at the Center

Endangered Dhole Pup
Endangered Dhole Pup

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!

Baby Smooth-coated Otter
Baby Smooth-coated Otter
May 20, 2014

Digging For Reforestation

Topsoil erosion prevents the growth of trees.
Topsoil erosion prevents the growth of trees.

Wildlife Alliance’s Tropical Reforestation Project has taken another step towards fulfilling its goal of reconnecting fragmented and depleted rainforest in the Southern Cardamom Mountains in Koh Kong province. In January, Reforestation staff built a canal in Tatai to mitigate topsoil erosion that prevented the growth of trees and plants in the planting fields.

Topsoil erosion is one of the leading concerns in rainforest reforestation efforts - especially in an area known to have been denuded through slash-and-burn farming like the Southern Cardamoms. Slash-and-burn cultivation destroys the top layer of soil, making it useless for planting after one growing season. This means that slash-and-burn farmers move on each season, destroying more forest and leaving it unable to support future flora. With topsoil washing away during the yearly monsoon season because it is unprotected from the rains due to both slash-and-burn and illegal logging, the forest area is left effectively destroyed for the future. The Tropical Reforestation Project aims to reverse these practices and restore continuous forest cover while providing a sustainable livelihood to local community members who once destroyed the forest.

Maintaining topsoil has plagued our reforestation project since its inception in 2009. In the absence of nutrient-rich topsoil, plant life struggles to grow and ceases to exist. Therefore, it can be nearly impossible to grow new trees in areas subject to topsoil erosion, which is widespread in this particular region. But, with the expertise of Wildlife Alliance and our Tropical Reforestation staff, topsoil erosion is becoming less of a limitation. In Tatai specifically, topsoil erosion was hampering any viable reforestation effort. However, in January, tractor plows dug water drainage canals at the site. Now, water is prevented from flowing across the fields during the monsoon season, thus allowing trees and plants to grow healthily. To date, Wildlife Alliance has replanted more than 733,000 trees in this region. Through new projects and lessons learned, like the implementation of drainage canals, we are continually helping to ensure these trees can grow and mature, and eventually restore forest cover in the Southern Cardamoms.

Southern Cardamom Forest
Southern Cardamom Forest
May 20, 2014

The Wild Side of Learning

Kids Arriving at the Rescue Center
Kids Arriving at the Rescue Center

In March, Wildlife Alliance’s Kouprey Express (KE) took 60 students and 20 community members from Kampong Som province to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescued Center (PTWRC) for a unique wildlife experience! The participating students and community members had the opportunity to see, firsthand, the effects of wildlife trade and habitat destruction in Southeast Asia.

The trip to PTWRC was the culmination of a four day KE program in Kampong Som province. Beginning with two days of classroom lessons and activities at Kirivorn and Stoeung Chhay primary schools focusing on forests and wildlife, the third day played host to a Community Night Show for more than 200 community members after installing educational signage at both schools. On day four, students and community members were finally able to travel with the Kouprey Express to PTWRC and partake in a guided tour of the rescue center. Despite the day’s high temperatures, the participants’ enthusiasm never faltered and everyone was engaged in the stories of rescue and rehabilitation of the animals living at PTWRC. Following the tour, participants enjoyed an afternoon of art activities, games, and face painting influenced by their experience at PTWRC.

These field trips to PTWRC offer unique, hands-on environmental education to children and adults who would not otherwise have access to these kinds of experiences. The trips to PTWRC reinforce what is taught during KE classroom lessons and outreach events. Furthermore, this field trip with students and community members from Kampong Som would not have been possible in past years. In 2013, Kouprey Express signed a new MOU with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in Cambodia that enables Kouprey Express to conduct lessons, capacity building, and public events in Phnom Penh and Kampong Som, in addition to the lessons they were already providing in Koh Kong. This means that quality environmental education and interactive PTWRC field trips can be expanded to more youth and adults in Cambodia!

Interested in supporting Kouprey Express’s educational opportunities for Cambodian children? You can send another 75 children on an exciting trip to PTWRC through our micro-campaign. Help underprivileged, rural Cambodian youth attain quality education by supporting this campaign today!

Taking notes as they meet each animal.
Taking notes as they meet each animal.
Inspire change! Make a gift to our micro-campaign!
Inspire change! Make a gift to our micro-campaign!

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