The Young Bears Being Transported by the WRRT
On May 19th, Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) and Southern Cardamom Forest Protection Program received a tip from an informant about two bears being held captive in a village in Kampong Speu Province. The teams responded immediately and surrounded the suspected trader’s house. The offenders became increasingly aggressive and refused to allow staff to search the residence. To prevent the traders from escaping, the team waited outside while a warrant to search the premises was obtained. The search resulted in the rescue of two young Asiatic black bears.
Further investigation revealed that the offender’s husband was a convicted wildlife trader and that there is a warrant out for his arrest. The team also discovered a Vietnamese registered motorcycle on the premises, and it is likely these two bear cubs would have been sold to bile farms in Vietnam. Bears are often kept in alive in these farms where their gall bladder and bile is harvested and sold as traditional medicine. The female offender was charged under Article 98 of the Forestry Law for Possessing Endangered Wildlife and is currently in pre-trial detention.
While the team has made remarkable advances in tearing down the wildlife trade network in Cambodia, the deterrents are not enough to put an end to wildlife crime. Over the past few years, wildlife trade in the region has become increasingly sophisticated and animals are now being transported from Thailand into Cambodia and then onto Vietnam. In response to this crisis, the WRRT is focusing its efforts on transnational smuggling, and last week’s successful rescue is another example of the WRRT working aggressively to dismantle the illegal wildlife trade in the entire region.
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Two Asiatic Black Bear Cubs Were Rescued
Offender in Jail