We are thrilled to announce that the Elephant Conservation Center at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center is officially open! Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC) receives approximately 300,000 visitors each year, 200,000 of which are native Cambodians. Though visitors are able to see native animals firsthand, PTWRC was sorely lacking in educational opportunities and materials. Wildlife Alliance set out to create the Elephant Conservation Center to maximize the potential for learning and conservation engagement.
The Elephant Conservation Center provides PTWRC visitors with an in-depth, interactive education on elephants, the threats elephants face in Cambodia, and solutions that can protect elephant populations. Visual and interactive educational materials are shown in Khmer and English to maximize impact among PTWRC’s diverse visitors. The visual education exhibits include educational film clips, various sign boards with information on PTWRC elephants’ rescue stories, the history of Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team, elephant biology, conservation messages, the various threats elephants face in the wild, and a chart and visual representation of differences and similarities between Africa and Asian elephants. The interactive education exhibits include fun, hands-on activities for visitors. There is even a life-size model of famous PTWRC elephant, Lucky, that instructs visitors to measure around her foot and double the measured result to find out Lucky’s massive height! Gifts for purchase, such as t-shirts, neckties, and canvasses painted by Lucky, will ensure that knowledge acquired at PTWRC follows the visitor back home. Additionally, the gifts for sale will generate sustainable revenue towards the care of PTWRC’s elephants.
The Elephant Conservation Center’s unique educational experience is critical for the long term conservation of this iconic species in Cambodia, and Wildlife Alliance would like to sincerely thank the generous donors that helped make this project a huge success!
We are very excited to announce that on December 17th, a trio of endangered silvered langurs was released into the forest of Angkor Archaeological Park. Born to parents rescued from the illegal wildlife trade, the langurs were mother-raised at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC) and lived in a rehabilitation enclosure with limited human presence for some time. They were transferred to their release enclosure in Angkor Thom on July 20th, where they acclimated to their new surroundings for 4 months before being released. Fifteen minutes after the release door was opened, the male and one of the females left the enclosure. We were initially concerned they would leave the other female behind, however after another fifteen minutes she made her exit, and the two were waiting for her outside. Over the past few days, the langurs have stayed close to their release site and continue to take supplemental food left for them as they adjust to their new home in the wild!
The silvered langurs are the second set of animals that we have released into this protected forest. In December 2013, the Wildlife Release Project at Angkor Archaeological Park was initiated with the release of two endangered gibbons. Since then, the gibbons have quickly adapted to their new life, and even had their first baby in September! This release project is a groundbreaking new endeavor between Wildlife Alliance, the Forestry Administration and the Apsara Authority that manages the World Heritage site, to repopulate the barren forest at Angkor Archaeological Park. The Angkor temples and their surrounding forest are one the most culturally significant places in Cambodia. The 4,000 hectares of forest that surrounds the temples is now almost devoid of wildlife due to excessive and unrestricted hunting that used to take place. The area is now well protected and we are extremely fortunate to be the ones with permission to start repopulating the forests with species that used to live here.
Listed by the IUCN as Endangered, silvered langurs are beautiful tree-dwelling monkeys that have long tails and a unique salt-and-peppered coat. Infants are born with a bright orange coat and only begin developing grey fur after three months. Silvered langurs feed primarily on leaves and have a large, specialized stomach containing symbiotic bacteria that detoxifies poisonous leaves and enables them to digest leaf material more efficiently than any other primate. These incredible animals are endangered due to habitat loss, the illegal wildlife trade and use in traditional medicines. It is our hope that this monitored release program will help bolster their dwindling populations and safeguard their uncertain future. Guards have been stationed to protect the forest, and the langurs will continue to be monitored to ensure they thrive in their new home.
Help Wildlife Alliance continue to be at the forefront of conservation and wildlife protection in the Southeast Asian tropical belt, by making an end of year gift to Help Save Victimized Wildlife today!
We are very excited to announce that our released gibbons, Baray and Saranik, gave birth to their first baby earlier this month! At the end of last year, a pair of endangered pileated gibbons that were raised at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC), were successfully rehabilitated and reintroduced into the protected forest of Angkor Archaeological Park. Since their release, the gibbons have been closely monitored, and it has been quite remarkable how quickly they have adapted to their new life in the forest. Success of a reintroduction program is evaluated on the basis of survival and reproduction, and so far our gibbons are doing great. They remain a closely bonded pair, are completely self-reliant and now the latest addition to their family is another sign that they have settled into their new home!
The reintroduction of gibbons and the birth of this baby gibbon in particular is an exciting and vital step towards the conservation of this endangered species. With less than 35,000 individuals left in the wild, gibbon populations are plummeting due to hunting and habitat fragmentation. With approval from the Forestry Administration and the Apsara Authority that manages the World Heritage site, we are now in the process of releasing a second pair of gibbons into the forest. In July 2014, Bayon and Tevy were transferred to their release enclosure in Angkor Thom, where they are acclimating to their new surroundings. Once they are ready, their enclosure will be opened and these gibbons will also be free to roam the forest.
This reintroduction program at the Angkor Archaeological Park is the first of its kind in Cambodia, and we are thrilled with the results so far. Thank you for helping us continue to rebuild gibbon populations in Asia and be at the forefront of conservation and wildlife protection!
Click here to watch a video of the new born baby with his mom!
Last month we celebrated World Elephant Day! Launched in 2012, this day was created to help raise awareness about the urgent plight of elephants in both Africa and Asia. Over the last decade, we have seen elephant populations drop by over 60%. In 2012 alone, 35,000 African elephants were slaughtered and it is estimated that 100 elephants are killed each day. The increasingly sophisticated and large-scale nature of the attacks indicates that elephants are being targeted by organized crime syndicates that use the funds to fuel corruption, terrorism and extremist movements. Over the past four years, the price of ivory on the black market has tripled in countries like China and Vietnam. To meet this demand, ivory is being shipped from Africa into various ports in Asia, and Cambodia is emerging as a new transport hub.
So far in 2014, there have already been three major seizures of ivory in Cambodia. The Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT), which focuses much of its efforts on transboundary trafficking, is stepping up its activities to reverse this trend. As Cambodia’s national task force for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN), the WRRT is also cooperating with member countries to coordinate efforts and identify ivory trade networks operating throughout the region. With elephant populations plummeting, the specialized operations that the WRRT conducts are essential to dismantling the international ivory trade.
Listed as Endangered by the IUCN, there are only 40,000 Asian elephants remaining. These remarkable creatures have the largest brains of any land mammal and are considered keystone species because they play a crucial ecological role in habitat formation and seed dispersal. Elephants are also known to be self-aware and altruistic animals that can express grief, compassion and can even recognize themselves in a mirror! Wildlife Alliance has been working to protect these giant herbivores in Cambodia since 2001. At the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC), we care for four rescued Asian elephants including Chhouk, the Asian elephant with a prosthetic foot. Chhouk was found as baby, wandering alone in the forest with a severe snare injury. After caring for him for two weeks in the forest and gaining his trust, we transported him to PTWRC and were able to heal his wounds. Since then, Chhouk has undergone extensive rehabilitation, receiving a prosthetic foot to help him grow up healthy and strong. Chhouk's story exemplifies the threats these animals face on a daily basis.
Help Wildlife Alliance continue to protect Asian elephants by making a donation today! Your gift will provide food, water and care for these magnificent creatures.
International Tiger Day, being celebrated this year on July 29, was established to promote public awareness and support for tiger conservation. The tiger is the world’s largest cat and is currently listed as Endangered by the IUCN. Just 100 years ago, there were as many as 100,000 wild tigers in Asia, but today, there are less than 3,000. In the last 80 years, three of the nine subspecies have gone extinct, and the futures of the other six remain dire.
Tigers once roamed the entire continent of Asia, but with human expansion they have lost over 93% of their original range. They now survive in small, isolated pockets of forest, where they are vulnerable to poaching and inbreeding. The primary threats facing tigers are habitat loss, depletion of prey species and poaching. As forests shrink and prey species become scarce, human-tiger conflict increases. And while there has been a ban on the international commercial trade of tigers since 1975, insufficient enforcement by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has led to sustained poaching. The illegal trade of tiger parts remains a lucrative business, with their bones, meat and skin valued at around $70,000 on the black market. In China, Vietnam, Lao PDR and Thailand, captive breeding facilities have been allowed to proliferate with little oversight and regulation. These tiger farms contribute to the commercial trade of the tiger parts, while passing as conservation breeding facilities.
Globally, the plight of the tiger remains a pressing issue, and we are on the verge of losing this beautiful and iconic species. At Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, we care for six tigers rescued from the illegal wildlife trade, and this year you can help make a difference by donating to help care for these rescued animals. You can also join the conservation on Facebook, Twitter and Buzzfeed, to learn more about these incredible animals and help spread the word!
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Communications and Finance Field Liaison