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Apr 1, 2019

Young pair of Endangered gibbons moved to pre-release enclosure

Our work to restore appropriate wildlife back into the forests surrounding the Angkor Temples seems to be progressing well, if fairly quietly. The muntjac we released in September are still around and come individually to take some of the food we put down for them on most nights. Bunthoun’s camera traps give evidence that nothing has befallen them so far. We also recorded photos of other species including porcupines, civets and different species of squirrels. Nothing earth-shattering, but interesting, nonetheless.

Bayon, Tevy and their two youngsters are well. Second baby, Kandop has grown and is now more confident among the branches, although he still travels attached to mother, Tevy, when longer distances are involved. Baray, Saranick and their youngsters, Pingpeeung (Web Spider) and Chungruth (Cricket) are also doing very well. We were asked by Apsara, the authorities in Angkor, to conduct the first gibbon release near Tanei Temple, close to the recently implemented zip line, then called Flight of the Gibbon. At that time I did not feel I could argue and we proceeded. Staff ‘on the ground’ operating the zip line have always been helpful and any small problems have always been easily remedied. The company changed hands and is now called Angkor Zipline. The new company seems less switched on to what we are doing, although the new owners seem to enjoy the association without acknowledging us. They have cut a path in the forest for Zipline guests, which directly passes the feed site for Baray and his family. This could be unwise and if it causes any problems these should be easily solved.

Having removed most of the troupe, we were requested to capture the four remaining silvered langurs on Koh Krabie, an island that is being developed off the southwest coast. Sitheng, Chenda, and the team managed to capture a female and her youngster, leaving two monkeys on the island. Bunthoeun and I transported the two captured langurs to Angkor on October 31st and we released them at Lake Santamea, the same place we released the 12 other langurs we captured. These are wild animals, the translocation has gone very well, we have not encountered any problems and we expect this to continue. Although not directly our responsibility, I was concerned for the safety of these beautiful primates if left on the island and managed to find the funds to ensure their survival, albeit in a different forest.

We recaptured the third pair of gibbons we released at Takao Gate in Angkor, as they proved unsuitable. Mr. Savath, the Apsara forest manager, who has been so helpful in the management of this project, suggested we move their release enclosure a little deeper into the forest, which has now been done. The situation is more appropriate and on November 28th we took another young pair up to start their acclimatization. At three years old these will still be too young for release for at least another year. However, they were born at PTWRC and raised by their mothers. They are wary of people and disinclined to approach. I am sure they will do well in this remote patch of Angkor forest when their time for freedom arrives.

Feb 13, 2019

The battle against the wildlife trade persists

photo by Jeremy Holden
photo by Jeremy Holden

Below are details on two recent operations to crack down on the illegal wildlife trade in Cambodia: 

December 1 bust on two wildlife traders: 

With intel on a suspected wildlife meat trader, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT), accompanied by the Kampong Speu provincial prosecutor and local authorities, went to search the suspect’s house along National Road 4. During the search, the team found 6kg (13.2 lbs) of wild boar meat, 4kg (8.8 lbs) of red muntjac meat, 1.5kg (3.3 lbs) of common palm civet meat, 14 pairs of Malayan sun bear claws, a live yellow-headed temple turtle, a royal turtle, 5 Asian soft-shell turtles, an elongated turtle, 3 giant Asian pond turtles and a Burmese python. They also found fake elephant ivory and fake rhino horn. Of particular interest was one of the turtles confiscates - a Royal turtle (Batagur baska).  This species is Endangered and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) conducts a captive breeding and release program for the species. The turtle we confiscated was one previously released, as it had been microchipped. WCS later collected it from Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center.

While searching the original suspect’s home, the team spotted a suspicious bag in the garden of the adjacent home. In collaboration with the prosecutor, the team inspected the bag and found wild meat including 10kg (22 lbs) of wild boar meat, 2.5kg (5.5 lbs) of red muntjac meat, 6.30kg (13.7 lbs) of common palm civet meat and 10 Asian soft-shell turtles.

Both offenders were fined following the Forestry law. The first trader was fined 5.371.000 riel ($1,342.75) and the second trader was fined 5.340.000 riel ($1,335). The wild meat was burnt by the WRRT at the local FA cantonment and the live wildlife was brought to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC) overnight and was released the next day by the WRRT in their natural habitat.

January 21 operation to rescue Asiatic black bear: 

The Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) collected a young Asiatic black bear from Pursat Province, Cambodia on January 21. The owner bought the bear from a hunter as a cub in an attempt to save the bear from a cruel fate. Bears in Cambodia and throughout Southeast Asia are targeted by poachers primarily for their gallbladders and paws, which is driving the species toward extinction. The owner kept the young female for two years until he saw one of our ads on the back of a tuk tuk urging people to call our wildlife crime hotline. Upon receiving his call, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team traveled to Pursat to pick up the bear and transported her to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center where she is being cared for by Free the Bears.

Thank you for helping us continue to crack down in the illegal wildlife trade in Cambodia. Your support has helped us rescue 1,044 animals in and apprehend 25 wildlife trade offenders in the last quarter.

The WRRT is a Forestry Administration law enforcement unit led by the Forestry Administration, in cooperation with the Military Police, with technical and financial support from Wildlife Alliance.

Feb 11, 2019

The battle against the wildlife trade persists

photo by Jeremy Holden
photo by Jeremy Holden

Below are details on two recent operations to crack down on the illegal wildlife trade in Cambodia: 

December 1 bust on two wildlife traders: 

With intel on a suspected wildlife meat trader, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT), accompanied by the Kampong Speu provincial prosecutor and local authorities, went to search the suspect’s house along National Road 4. During the search, the team found 6kg (13.2 lbs) of wild boar meat, 4kg (8.8 lbs) of red muntjac meat, 1.5kg (3.3 lbs) of common palm civet meat, 14 pairs of Malayan sun bear claws, a live yellow-headed temple turtle, a royal turtle, 5 Asian soft-shell turtles, an elongated turtle, 3 giant Asian pond turtles and a Burmese python. They also found fake elephant ivory and fake rhino horn. Of particular interest was one of the turtles confiscates - a Royal turtle (Batagur baska).  This species is Endangered and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) conducts a captive breeding and release program for the species. The turtle we confiscated was one previously released, as it had been microchipped. WCS later collected it from Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center.

While searching the original suspect’s home, the team spotted a suspicious bag in the garden of the adjacent home. In collaboration with the prosecutor, the team inspected the bag and found wild meat including 10kg (22 lbs) of wild boar meat, 2.5kg (5.5 lbs) of red muntjac meat, 6.30kg (13.7 lbs) of common palm civet meat and 10 Asian soft-shell turtles.

Both offenders were fined following the Forestry law. The first trader was fined 5.371.000 riel ($1,342.75) and the second trader was fined 5.340.000 riel ($1,335). The wild meat was burnt by the WRRT at the local FA cantonment and the live wildlife was brought to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC) overnight and was released the next day by the WRRT in their natural habitat.

January 21 operation to rescue Asiatic black bear: 

The Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) collected a young Asiatic black bear from Pursat Province, Cambodia on January 21. The owner bought the bear from a hunter as a cub in an attempt to save the bear from a cruel fate. Bears in Cambodia and throughout Southeast Asia are targeted by poachers primarily for their gallbladders and paws, which is driving the species toward extinction. The owner kept the young female for two years until he saw one of our ads on the back of a tuk tuk urging people to call our wildlife crime hotline. Upon receiving his call, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team traveled to Pursat to pick up the bear and transported her to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center where she is being cared for by Free the Bears.

Thank you for helping us continue to crack down in the illegal wildlife trade in Cambodia. Your support has helped us rescue 1,044 animals in and apprehend 25 wildlife trade offenders in the last quarter.

The WRRT is a Forestry Administration law enforcement unit led by the Forestry Administration, in cooperation with the Military Police, with technical and financial support from Wildlife Alliance.

 
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