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 11, 2014

Rescued: 108 Animals Heading to Vietnam

Rescued sugar gliders - photo by Peter Yuen
Rescued sugar gliders - photo by Peter Yuen

Last month, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) received information from a reliable source that a major shipment of wildlife was being transported along National Road 5 in a white Lexus. The team left immediately and was able to intercept the vehicle along the highway on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. A search of the vehicle resulted in the rescue of 40 sugar gliders, 15 hedge hogs, 18 water dragons, 8 variable squirrels, 3 Burmese pythons, 5 Brongersma’s short-tailed pythons, 9 garden fence lizards, 5 Nicobar pigeons and 4 grey bellied squirrels. The rescued animals were immediately transported to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center where veterinarian staff can assess the condition of each animal. Those deemed suitable for release will be released into protected natural habitat as soon as possible.

The trader, a Vietnamese national, was apprehended and taken to a nearby Forestry Administration office for further questioning. During interrogation, the trader admitted to purchasing the wildlife from Chak Thu Chak market in central Bangkok before crossing the border in to Cambodia. He intended to continue on to Ho Chi Min city to resell the wildlife for a substantial profit. Most of the species rescued are not native to Cambodia and do not fall within the Forestry Law legislation, so the trader was only fined $4,500 USD. However, details about the trader have been passed on to contacts in Vietnam where it is hoped further investigation will result in ongoing operations and apprehensions. This significant bust, as well as the rescue of a critically endangered pangolin that was also heading to Vietnam on November 11th, suggest that Cambodia is increasingly being used as a wildlife transportation route to countries like China and Vietnam. To address this trend, the WRRT has been strengthening ties with border authorities and customs officials to reduce transnational trading. This increased cooperation with border and airport officials has already led to several successful arrests this year, and we hope to continue to build on these relationships in the upcoming year.

Make a gift this holiday season, and help the WRRT and Wildlife Alliance put an end to illegal trafficking in Asia!

WRRT Intercepts Suspects Vehicle
WRRT Intercepts Suspects Vehicle
A full search of the car revealed 108 animals
A full search of the car revealed 108 animals
Rescued baby hedgehogs
Rescued baby hedgehogs
Dec 11, 2014

Rangers Rescue Sun Bear Cub

Sun bear cub found in blue box
Sun bear cub found in blue box

On October 20, 2014, the Tatai Patrol Station in the Southern Cardamoms received a phone call from an informant about a sun bear cub that was being held captive in an area 70 km north of Koh Kong Town. The team left immediately to rescue the bear and called upon the Koh Pao Patrol unit for assistance. When the rangers arrived, they surrounded the house and asked the owner for permission to check the property. The owner agreed, and a full search was conducted, but no bear was found. The rangers decided to search a nearby hut, where they located a blue container. Inside the blue container was a tiny bear cub, no more than 6 months old! Unfortunately, the owner of the hut was nowhere to be found, and neighbors informed the rangers that he only visited the property occasionally. The rangers will continue to investigate the matter in order to identify and arrest the hunter. The bear was taken back to the station, and was transferred the next day to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center for care.

Sun bears and other Asian bear species are being brutally targeted by poachers in Cambodia for their body parts which are used in traditional medicine. Because of this active trade in bears and bear parts, their populations - especially in Southeast Asia - have been decimated. The demand for bear parts on the international black market is high and poachers and traffickers can fetch a high price for paws, bile, and gallbladders. Adult bears are poached for their paws - considered a delicacy in soup. Cubs are torn from their mothers and sold into the pet trade. When they get bigger they end up imprisoned in tiny cages or sold to bile farms in Vietnam. Bear "farms" keep the bears caged and alive, while their gall bladder and bile is harvested and sold as traditional medicine.

Help our Forest Protection Program put an end to bear trafficking and continue to rescue animals by making a gift today!

Rangers searching hut, where they noticed the bin
Rangers searching hut, where they noticed the bin
Tatai station with rescued cub
Tatai station with rescued cub
Dec 2, 2014

Motorcycle Chase Ends in Pangolin Rescue

Rescued Pangolin
Rescued Pangolin

While out on regular patrol, Wildlife Alliance forest rangers operating in Koh Kong province in southwestern Cambodia, combed through the Southern Cardamom Rainforest, dismantling illegal houses and stopping suspicious vehicles. When one such vehicle heading towards Koh Kong Town refused to pull over, the unit reacted quickly and pursued the suspected traffickers.

After a dramatic motorcycle chase, the suspects were trapped by incoming rangers. Instead of surrendering themselves, they dropped their motorcycle and took to the bushes on foot. The unit responded swiftly, and within minutes the suspects were captured and handcuffed. After a quick search of their vehicle, it was found that the offenders were in possession of a live pangolin. The offenders were taken to Koh Kong Town, where they were charged with wildlife trafficking and are awaiting trial.

Very little information is available about pangolins in the wild as they are rarely observed due to their secretive, solitary, and nocturnal habits. They are also very hard to care for in captivity due to their sensitive natures, and little research or evidence exists on their survival rates post-release. There are no standard release protocols for pangolins – a situation we hope to address with our new pangolin release project. A new pangolin release enclosure has just been constructed at Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Station and we have fitted a few suitable pangolins with state-of-the-art transmitters that will allow for close monitoring post-release. After an acclimation period in their enclosure, the pangolins will be released and we will be able to start collecting data on their behavior and on our strategies and protocols that will support their long-term survival.

Help us save the most traffcked mammal in the world this #GivingTuesday! Your gift will help rangers rescue more pangolins, conduct vehicle checkpoints, remove traps and stop poachers. Thank you for your continued support, we have only 38 days to raise $1,797, and need your help to reach our goal and prevent this shy and gentle species from disappearing forever!

Help save the pangolin before it
Help save the pangolin before it's too late!

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