Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife

by Wildlife Alliance
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Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife
Carefully removing a live civet from a snare
Carefully removing a live civet from a snare

Already 2022 has been a busy year for our rangers protecting wildlife in the Cardamoms. With the generous support of donors like you, between just January and April, rangers from 14 stations spread across the landscape patrolled almost 79,000 kilometers, removed more than 14,700 deadly snares from the forest, and rescued 147 live animals.

As with the sun bear rescue described in our previous report, some of the animals saved were removed directly from snares and would surely have died ensnared had our patrol teams not discovered them in time. Safely releasing frightened wild animals that are caught in hunting snares requires special tactics and patience to prevent injury. In mid-January, while conducting a long patrol, the Chhay Areng Patrol Unit found three common palm civets trapped in snares. The team spent 60 minutes carefully removing the civets from the snares. When the team searched the surrounding area, they found and removed a total of 520 snares. In March, during a long patrol the Trapeang Rung Patrol Unit found two wild boars in hunting snares. They were able to free the boars in 30 minutes. The team found a total of 68 snares in the surrounding area.

Net and bird traps also pose a threat to wildlife and the rangers removed over 2,000 meters of net traps during this period. During daily routine patrols the Koh Paor Patrol Unit rescued two turtles, a snake and a water dragon from net traps in February, and in April they rescued another two turtles from net traps. The wild animals were freed on site and the traps impounded. In March, the Chambak Patrol Unit confiscated 12 bird traps, rescued 8 unidentified wild birds and released them.

In addition to rescuing animals from unchecked snares and traps, rangers sometimes save animals already in the hands of hunters. In early March, the Stung Praot Patrol Unit was conducting a routine daily patrol inside a sugarcane area when they stopped a suspect riding a motorbike. Concealed underneath his jacket, the team found 12 unidentified wild birds that he had tied around his body to avoid being seen! The offender was arrested, brought to the Station, and paid a transactional fine of 1 million riel ($250 USD) in order to get back his motorbike. The birds were released the same day behind the Station. At the end of April, while patrolling along National Road 48, the Trapeang Rung Patrol Unit noticed a net bag abandoned on the road. The team checked and found a live Slow loris in the bag. Slow loris is an IUCN Red-Listed nocturnal primate. The animal was released back into natural habitat that same night.

Thank you so much for supporting our rangers’ work to protect Cambodian wildlife.

Moto rider with birds strapped to torso
Moto rider with birds strapped to torso
Slow loris found in bag on roadside
Slow loris found in bag on roadside
Bird saved from trap by rangers
Bird saved from trap by rangers
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Vet treating snare wound on sun bear's paw
Vet treating snare wound on sun bear's paw

As always, our rangers have been hard at work patrolling the forests of the Cardamoms to keep wildlife safe during the past quarter. The most exciting outcome of these recent patrols was saving the life of a sun bear that had been caught in a snare!

Rangers from the Thmor Rung Patrol Unit were on a long patrol in the Southern Cardamom National Park on January 8, 2022 when villagers from Prey Prasith Village in Preah Sihanouk Province informed them they had found a sun bear caught in a snare. Along the way to locate the sun bear, the rangers removed 199 snares and finally located the bear at 8:10 PM, several hours after dark, by following its noises. The bear’s front left paw was trapped in a rope snare. She was trying to release herself by pulling on her leg and, understandably, was acting aggressively. The rangers could not get close enough to help the bear and there was no cell phone reception in the area so they camped nearby to guard the bear that night.

The next morning, three rangers left the area to find cell reception and called the Wildlife Alliance office in Phnom Penh to request emergency assistance from our Care for Rescued Wildlife staff who specialize in handling and treating injured wild animals. The team dispatched with a veterinarian, drove for several hours and then hiked in to reach the site where the bear was snared by 4:05 PM. The vet sedated the bear so the team could get close enough to release her from the snare. The bear had sustained heavy injuries to the snared paw. She received initial treatment on site and was then carried to a truck and transported to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre for further treatment and rehabilitation.

Generous donors like you ensure our rangers are able to patrol the Cardamoms continuously, which is vital because we never know when a wild animal in need will be discovered. Thank you for protecting animals like this sun bear by supporting this project.

Sun bear with paw snared when found by rangers
Sun bear with paw snared when found by rangers
Sedated bear being treated for its snare wound
Sedated bear being treated for its snare wound
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Sun bear saved from snare, treated and released!
Sun bear saved from snare, treated and released!

The rangers your donations support have been hard at work this year, patrolling to ensure wildlife stays out of poachers’ hands and the Cardamom Rainforest remains standing. Patrols continued throughout the year despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. While the pandemic suspended many things, activities such as illegal logging, land encroachment and poaching persisted in Cambodia. But when faced with difficulties such as rangers having to quarantine, those from other stations stepped in to keep the forest safe – so we still achieved a lot!

Giving Tuesday is the perfect time to celebrate these results and pitch in a little more if you can because November 30 (from 00:01AM-11:59PM Eastern Time)all online donations to Help Rangers Protect Endangered Cambodian Wildlife will be matched from GlobalGiving’s $1 MILLION Incentive Fund!Our goal for this project is to raise $1,200 to pay all of the technology costs for the coming year for one of our 11 ranger stations.

This report offers highlights from the year and an overview of what we achieved with your support. Over the first 9 months of 2021, the rangers:

  • Patrolled 149,492 kilometers
  • Removed 19,039 snares
  • Rescued 271 animals
  • Seized 938 m3 of illegal timber and 1,211 chainsaws
  • Arrested 122 offenders
  • Submitted 151 cases to court

The hundreds of live animals rescued included Critically Endangered Sunda Pangolin and Elongated Tortoise, plus several Endangered Slow Loris. The rangers also removed over 19,000 deadly snares – saving thousands more animals from the illegal wildlife trade. Snares are usually made from simple materials such as nylon, rope, and natural materials and anchored in the landscape – once set any animal that steps on the snare and triggers it can become trapped.

One major success story came in January when rangers from Chhay Areng station found an adult Sun Bear with the tip of his foot caught in a snare. They immediately alerted our Care for Rescued Wildlife team, which drove across the country to reach the bear, treat his wounds and assess his health. His condition was excellent – the rangers must have found the lucky bear within 48-hours of being snared – so he was able to be immediately released back into the forest.

Sadly, the rangers don’t always make it in time to save wild lives. On occasions, rangers found animals dead in snares or intercepted shipments of wildlife parts, like the head of a rare Mainland Serow and 130 lbs. of bush meat destined for Phnom Penh. These cases are a stark reminder of the formidable scale of the illegal wildlife trade.

This year has also brought some major timber busts. In February, rangers from Rovieng station intercepted a 5-ton truck loaded with over 17m3 of timber inside Phnom Samkos wildlife sanctuary. The following month in Kirirom National Park, during a joint operation by three stations a truck transporting timber was detected. A chase ensued, during which the driver overturned the truck. Rangers arrested the driver and seized over 14.5m3 of rare timber! The Cardamoms is home to some 23 threatened tree species, including both Siamese and Burmese rosewood, which are prized for luxury furniture. Luxury timber from threatened species accounted for 46m3 of all illegal timber the rangers seized from Jan-September, and the seriousness of these crimes resulted in a number of sentences for offenders.

Finally, throughout the year rangers’ spotted signs of Asian elephant such as footprints, dung and – incredibly – placenta from a recently born calf nearby one of the stations! This confirms that these forest giants are breeding in the Cardamoms and the ranger patrols your donations support are effective.

Happy Giving Tuesday and thank you so much for helping to give wild animals in the Cardamoms the life they deserve – in the wild!

Endangered Loris rescued by rangers
Endangered Loris rescued by rangers
Ranger holding a snare and rescued bird
Ranger holding a snare and rescued bird
Rangers & overturned truck hauling illegal timber
Rangers & overturned truck hauling illegal timber
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Rangers in Cardamoms rescued this rare Marbled Cat
Rangers in Cardamoms rescued this rare Marbled Cat

For wildlife in the Cardamoms, rangers mean the difference between life and death and your donations make their work possible! This Marbled Cat was rescued at just a few weeks old. She was weak, frightened and in urgent need of milk - but her mother was nowhere in sight.

The kitten was found after she wandered onto a farm. Luckily, the farmer turned her over to rangers who immediately transported her to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre. There, keepers worked around the clock to provide critical milk and more, just like mama! Soon after, she was out of the danger zone and today she’s thriving!

While rangers routinely rescue animals like this Marbled Cat, her donation to rangers by a villager is the exception. Most animals are rescued from certain death in snares. Once set, snares are like ticking time bombs for wildlife: they catch and kill indiscriminately, meaning no animal is safe. Once caught, animals typically die in the snare or from the resulting infections after breaking free. But rangers make the forest safer by removing snares. In the first nine months of this year, rangers have removed over 19,000 snares, and rescued 271 live animals, including threatened species. Other lucky animals rescued this year include a Critically Endangered Sunda Pangolin donated by a villager, a Slow Loris confiscated from a poacher, and a Sun Bear released from a snare. Unlike the Marbled Cat, which will be hand-raised by Nursery keepers at Phnom Tamao until it is old enough to be released, all of these animals could be released immediately back into the forest because they were mature and in good health.

Besides the day to day rescues, our rangers have made great strides for wildlife, especially elephants. The Cardamom Rainforest Landscape is an important habitat for an estimated 400 Endangered Asian elephants. Since 2006, Wildlife Alliance rangers have achieved zero elephant poaching. What’s more, our remote cameras record herds of elephants moving through the forest with calves, an encouraging sign of breeding.

Your donations keep the Cardamoms safe for animals big and small! Thank you so much for your support!

Ranger holding rescued Marbled Cat kitten
Ranger holding rescued Marbled Cat kitten
Asian Elephant herd camera-trapped in Cardamoms
Asian Elephant herd camera-trapped in Cardamoms
Marble Cat kitten at Wildlife Rescue Centre
Marble Cat kitten at Wildlife Rescue Centre
Cardamom rangers with Marble Cat kitten
Cardamom rangers with Marble Cat kitten
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Bengal Slow Loris rescued from poacher by rangers
Bengal Slow Loris rescued from poacher by rangers

The Wildlife Alliance ranger teams your donations support have been hard at work protecting the Cardamoms and its threatened wildlife – in the first half of 2021 they rescued a total of 199 live animals from poachers! Among the animals saved were a few of the rare Slow Loris.

The Bengal Slow Loris pictured above was rescued by rangers in May 2021. This guy or girl was lucky – it was found uninjured in a poacher’s sack and the rangers were able to release it back into the wild right away. As shown in this release video, it scampered up into the canopy as soon as the ranger placed it on the tree!

Slow Loris are nocturnal primates that have developed a unique response to predators: they can release venom! How does this work? There are 2 steps: first they secrete noxious oil from glands under their armpits. Second, Slow Loris lick those glands. When combined with the oil, the saliva forms a venom. 

Cambodia has two species of Slow Loris, the Bengal Slow Loris (Nycticebus bengalensis) and the Pygmy Slow Loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus), both of which are Endangered. Demand from the pet trade and traditional Asian Medicine are driving them to extinction. Since 2013, rangers have rescued a total of 48 Slow Lorises in the Cardamoms.

The pet Loris craze started online when videos, memes and images of Slow Lorises being kept as pets went viral. Unfortunately, the popularity of such content continues to fuel demand to keep them as pets, driving poachers to capture more Lorises from the wild in places like the Cardamoms. On top of this, online content featuring Lorises can encourage harmful behavior towards them. A paper that reviewed 100 such videos found that all showed at least 1 of 5 conditions known to be negative for Lorises (contact with humans or domestic animals, daylight, signs of stress or ill health, unnatural conditions, and isolation). In addition, the authors found that viewers were more likely to “like” videos where a slow loris was kept in the light or displayed signs of stress and conclude that the “prevalence of a positive public opinion of such videos” undermines conservation efforts.

In the Cardamom Rainforest, the other major threat to Slow Lorises is poaching for use in Asian traditional medicine. In Cambodia, Slow Loris is believed to treat a range of medical conditions, from leprosy to low fertility. For example, placing dried loris skin under the house is thought to increase a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. Such uses are unproven, and are a prescription for extinction.

Thank you for supporting ranger patrols that help ensure that Slow Loris, and so many other wildlife species, remain safely in the forest.

Lucky Loris found uninjured in poacher's sack
Lucky Loris found uninjured in poacher's sack
Ranger carrying Loris to tree for release
Ranger carrying Loris to tree for release

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Organization Information

Wildlife Alliance

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @WildlifeRescue
Project Leader:
Rebecca Bone
Development Associate
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
$63,188 raised of $80,000 goal
 
1,119 donations
$16,812 to go
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