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Jul 8, 2019

From a poacher's grip back into the wild; five Vulnerable turtles are rescued by rangers

Five black marsh turtles (Siebenrockiella crassicollis) escaped their fate of ending up in a restaurant when Wildlife Alliance rangers intercepted a poacher transporting them out of the Cardamom Rainforest. Black marsh turtles are classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and their populations are decreasing as the demand for freshwater turtles in the international meat trade rises. After intercepting the poacher, rangers from the Green Peafowl Station (Sre Ambel) immediately released the turtles back into freshwater habitat inside the Southern Cardamom National Park.

The Southern Cardamom National Park is home to >50 IUCN Threatened species, including Asian elephants, Asiatic black bear, pileated gibbon, Bengal slow loris, and four Critically Endangered species: Sunda pangolin, Siamese crocodile, southern river terrapin, and giant ibis. Without your support, our rangers wouldn't ba able to protect these species from poachers and the destruction of their rainforest habitat. Thank you! 

Jun 27, 2019

Our next release will be otter-ly exciting

Exciting news! Photo by Joshua Prieto
Exciting news! Photo by Joshua Prieto

Our efforts to restore wildlife back into the forests surrounding the Angkor Temples are progressing smoothly.

Muntjac Deer (Muntiacus vaginalis) – Least Concern

The muntjac we released in September are still around and come individually to take some of the food we put down for them most nights. What they leave behind is eaten by the limited wild animals that still survive in the forest. Providing food for animals post release, not only eases their transition into the wild but also allows us to continue monitoring the animals and ensure their safety and health.

Pileated Gibbons (Hylobates pileatus) - Endangered

Baray, Saranick, and their youngsters, Ping-Peeung (Web spider) and Chung-ruth (Cricket), are doing very well. They have adapted to the treetops better than we could have hoped and although they are not afraid of people they are becoming less inclined to interact and we hope that in time they will become more remote.

Bayon, Tevy and their two youngsters, Aping (Tarantula) and Kandop (Grasshopper), are also fine. There seemed to be a small problem developing between mother and father as Tevy was clearly a little scared of Bayon at feeding time and appeared reluctant to feed when he was close by. However, our staff hoisted a second feed basket into the trees which seems to have helped restore harmony to the relationship at meal times.

Borey and Pompoi, our third pair of gibbons we are rehabilitating at the Takao Gate (around two kilometers from Bayon and Tevy) have settled well. They are clearly mistrustful of people and the female, Pompoi, hides away in her blue sleeping barrel whenever we approach – a good sign for the future.

Silvered Langurs (Trachypithecus germaini) - Endangered

We seldom get reports about the 14 silvered langurs we translocated from an island off the coast to Angkor, but these are wild arboreal animals and their their habits along with the improved security that is now being employed in Angkor ensures their safety.

Smooth Coated Otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) - Vulnerable

Nowadays, there seems to be more interest in our work to restore wildlife to the Angkor forest from Apsara, the authorities we work with in Siem Reap. Following their request for us to submit a list of animals we felt could survive here, they asked us to bring otters to Angkor to prepare for release. In order to acclimatize the otters to their new home in the forest, we will customize the old muntjac rehabilitation enclosure to make it otter proof. This involves enlarging the existing pool and placing tin around the top of the enclosure fencing to stop them from climbing out. The next step is to relocate a family of otters from Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center to the enclosure. Releasing otters, which can be nomadic, into Angkor is a brave step and whether is turns out to be a good idea only time will tell. We have been given the opportunity to give these animals a life outside of a cage, which we will take and we – and the otters – will learn from the experience.

Photo by Joshua Prieto
Photo by Joshua Prieto
Photo by Joshua Prieto
Photo by Joshua Prieto
May 10, 2019

Phnom Penh Ivory Shop Owner Arrested

Last month, with information from an informant, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (Cambodia’s multi-agency wildlife law enforcement unit which is run with technical and financial support from Wildlife Alliance) investigated an ivory carving shop in Phnom Penh. The WRRT, accompanied by local police, local Forestry Administration officials, and the Deputy Prosecutor of Phnom Penh Court, raided the suspects home and found 8 kg (17.6 lbs) of ivory, 5.7 kg (12.6 lbs) of wild pig tusks, one wild pig skull, 3 red muntjac deer skulls, and one Eld’s deer antler. The WRRT arrested the offender and brought him to the Phnom Penh Forestry Administration cantonment where a court case was filed against him. He has been released until the court issues a verdict.

The presence of ivory carving shops in Cambodia has been on the rise in recent years. While there is a small demand for ivory from Cambodians, the increase in demand is mainly fueled by foreign consumers, particularly Chinese nationals [source]. Since 2016 there has been an explosion of Chinese investment in Cambodia, which has resulted in a massive upsurge in Chinese tourist in the country, the primary target market for ivory shops in Cambodia. The Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team is working to crack down on and close ivory shops throughout Cambodia.

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