Last year, Wildlife Alliance took supporters and Advisory Board members on a frequently wild, oftentimes touching, and definitely life-changing trip to our projects in the Southern Cardamom Mountain range of Cambodia. One aspect of the tour included a visit to the ranger stations in the Southern Cardamom Mountains. By meeting our dedicated staff and learning about the invaluable work they do, we were able to give supporters a chance to see firsthand what it is really like working along the river and in the forest stopping illegal activities and preventing forest destruction.
We began the visit with a tour of the Sre Ambel Patrol Station, where the group received an introduction to the Southern Cardamom Forest Protection Program from the Project Manager Eduard Lefter and CEO Suwanna Gauntlett. Here we were given a shocking tour of the evidence room, where we saw hundreds of confiscated chainsaws, logs upon logs of confiscated timber, amid other confiscated materials like vehicles and snares.
The next day we headed further into the jungle. In order to understand what it truly takes to be a forest ranger in these parts, we joined the Stung Proat Patrol Station on a morning patrol!
Well before dawn, the rangers arrived on their speed boats to take the group out on our first river patrol. As we watched the sun rise over the water, we headed into narrower waterways and denser forest. The rangers are required to stop every boat that they pass, and as we sped along we were met with a fishing boat. The rangers stopped the fisherman and searched their boat, but found nothing illegal. A little further away, we found what the team believed to be the campsite of the fisherman. Upon further investigation of the site, several snares used for wildlife poaching were uncovered. They were immediately taken down and confiscated.
We then had the incredible opportunity to assist the rangers in the release of three turtles and a giant python that were rescued from the previous day’s patrol. The turtles and python quickly swam away, relieved to be in open waters again. After the boat ride, the group followed the rangers on a foot patrol, where they got to experience the rugged terrain these rangers trek over every day.
The rangers of the Southern Cardamom Forest Protection Program tirelessly patrol the rainforest, coastal mangroves and rivers to stop wildlife poachers, forest fires, land grabbers and illegal loggers. The Cardamoms are one of the rarest resources in Southeast Asia, and we were very excited to personally show our supporters how these rangers combat these threats. We will be leading another group into the wilds of rural Cambodia this November 2-10. If you’re interested in testing your mettle as a forest ranger, click here to learn more, or contact Beth Eisenstaedt at email@example.com or 646-569-5861.
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Communications and Finance Field Liaison