Equip Rangers to Protect Endangered Wildlife

by Wildlife Alliance
Vetted
The Southern Cardamom National Park landscape
The Southern Cardamom National Park landscape

Wildlife Alliance received exciting news recently when Cambodia’s Minister of Environment announced that the Southern Cardamom forests will now be protected as a National Park!  Wildlife Alliance’s forest rangers have been working with Forestry Administration to protect this vulnerable forest since 2002.  The forest’s newly designated name, The Southern Cardamom National Park, will provide the land and animals with additional legal protection and will help prevent future degradation to the vulnerable habitat. The Southern Cardamom ecosystem is vital to maintaining one of Asia’s last remaining elephant corridors, a strip of land that allows elephants to move to different habitats, and one of the region’s last continuous rainforests.

Wildlife Alliance’s forest rangers stepped in to protect the forest in 2002, when a freeway connecting Cambodia and Thailand opened, cutting through 1100 km of previously untouched forest.  The freeway not only fragmented the forest, but also gave poachers easy access to the previously untouched heart of the forest.  In April 2002, poachers took the lives of 37 elephants and 12 tigers, and land grabbers lit 37-40 forest fires every day for slash and burn farming.  This crisis spurred Wildlife Alliance to protect the forest.  At the time, there were no rangers or central government protection in the Southern Cardamom forest. 

Wildlife Alliance has played a critical role in healing the forest by employing 98 forest rangers across 6 ranger stations in the Southern Cardamoms, protecting approximately 2 million acres of land. 

The forest’s designation as a National Park will help provide legal protection the Southern Cardamom forest and prevent against forest fires for land grabbing, illegal logging, and wildlife poaching for many years to come.  Thank you for your support of our forest rangers.   Your support has been critical to getting the Southern Cardamom forest to where it is today, a new National Park.

Beautiful waterfall in the new National Park.
Beautiful waterfall in the new National Park.
Rescued baby black bear cub
Rescued baby black bear cub

On January 13, 2016, Wildlife Alliance's forest rangers rescued an Asiatic black bear cub that was being smuggled out of the Cardamom forest. Rangers from our Southern Cardamom Forest Protection Program intercepted the trader in Thmar Bang in Koh Kong province. The 3-month old cub, weighing only 8 pounds, was taken to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center to be cared for by Free the Bears.

Sadly, sun bears and other Asian bear species are being brutally targeted by poachers in Cambodia for their body parts which are used in traditional medicine. Because of this active trade in bears and bear parts, their populations - especially in Southeast Asia – are rapidly declining. Cubs are torn from their mothers and sold into the pet trade. When they get bigger, they end up imprisoned in tiny cages or sold to bile farms in Vietnam. Wildlife Alliance has been working since 2001 to end the trade of wildlife in Cambodia and throughout Southeast Asia. Since then, over 160 trafficked bears have been rescued. However, the international demand remains high and continued efforts are needed to ensure the long-term survival of bears in region.

In the same month, the rangers also seized a truck carrying 47 tons of illegal timber. The forest ranger station advisor received a tip about a truck carrying illegal timber attempting to leave Aural Wildlife Sanctuary. The station advisor reported the information to Wildlife Alliance's Law Enforcement Manager who instructed the ranger unit to ambush the truck. To prevent the driver from being tipped off, the nearest ranger station did not conduct the operation    informants are often posted at nearby ranger stations to provide information to the drivers and prevent law enforcement from successfully confiscating the timber. Instead, rangers from a further station found the truck on the road leaving Aural Wildlife Sanctuary and surrounded the vehicle. The team found 47 tons of rosewood and other precious timber on the truck and it was taken to the station for further legal action.

Wildlife Alliance’s Southern Cardamom Forest Protection Program partners with the Cambodian government to provide on-the-ground protection to one of Asia’s last remaining elephant corridors. Our forest rangers work day and night, risking their lives to protect nearly 2 million acres of rainforest and the countless wildlife that reside in this expansive forest.

Thank you for your important contribution! Your gift makes it possible for our rangers to stop illegal loggers and wildlife poachers from removing our most precious natural rescources. 

47 tons of precious timber that was confiscated
47 tons of precious timber that was confiscated
Forest rangers on patrol
Forest rangers on patrol
The 2 millions acres of forest the rangers protect
The 2 millions acres of forest the rangers protect
Rare clouded leopard in the Cardamoms
Rare clouded leopard in the Cardamoms

The ultimate goal of our work is to ensure that wild animals stay wild, so we are happy to report that we are finding an increase of local wildlife in our protected forest area! Near our Wildlife Release Station, set deep in the Southern Cardamom Rainforest in Cambodia, a flock of endangered green peafowl is regularly seen, as well as crested serpent eagles and great and wreathed hornbills. Animals such as sambar, muntjac, mouse deer, wild pigs, porcupines and small predators such as leopard cats and different species of civets are increasingly being captured by our camera traps. However, the most exciting capture was in August and again in September, where we found images of a clouded leopard roaming around the tropical rainforest! The photo quality is poor, but the markings are unmistakable. These beautiful cats are gaining popularity in commercial markets, and are increasingly being hunted for their unique spotted fur. Clouded leopards are particularly difficult to breed in captivity, suggesting that the majority are poached from the wild. Evidence of a clouded leopard population in the Southern Cardamoms makes it imperative for us to continue to provide critical protection to their habitat.

Wildlife Alliance has turned the Southern Cardamoms into a safe haven for these animals – eco lodges have been built so that tourists can see firsthand these animals in their natural habitat, and community rangers have been employed from nearby villages to provide added security. By actively engaging the local community, we can ensure the protection of the surrounding forest and wildlife. This year, the community ranger program has been strengthened with a new Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Chi Phat Police Station that allows for police officers to join the community rangers on their patrols. The officers will have legal authorization to arrest hunters and seize evidence, making the rangers even more effective.

Constant vigilance is the cost of keeping the Southern Cardamom forest safe and maintaining its high level of biodiversity. At only $105 a patrol, the added protection these community rangers provide is invaluable. Thank you for supporting our ranger programs this year, and helping us keep wildlife wild! Your gifts allow us to conduct wildlife releases with increased confidence and ensure the safety of the growing local wildlife population. And don’t forget to stay at our eco lodge on your next vacation. Click here to book a room today!

Binturongs or bearcats are listed as Vulnerable
Binturongs or bearcats are listed as Vulnerable
Leopard cats are frequently released and spotted
Leopard cats are frequently released and spotted
Great hornbills are found flying above
Great hornbills are found flying above
Aerial view of a group of wild boar
Aerial view of a group of wild boar
Sambar deer are now listed as Vulnerable
Sambar deer are now listed as Vulnerable
Elephants are returning to Cambodia
Elephants are returning to Cambodia

Wildlife and forest protection is often an uphill battle, and we are excited to share some good news for a change.

For the first time ever, a herd of wild elephants were caught on camera in the Southern Cardamoms of Cambodia. While elephant sightings by locals have been on the rise since 2012, this is the first time elephants have been caught on camera in this part of the country. The discovery of this herd is important confirmation that Wildlife Alliance’s efforts to protect vital wildlife habitat is helping elephant populations recover. Watch the video here.

There are less than 35,000 Asian elephants remaining in the wild, and only an estimated 200 elephants in Cambodia. The finding of this herd makes it confirms that we must continue to maintain our presence in the Cardamom Mountains, because every single elephant here is critical to the survival of the species in Cambodia. Between 2001 and 2002, 37 elephants were reported killed in the Southern Cardamoms preceding the implementation of Wildlife Alliance’s forest protection program. Since 2006, there have been zero deaths reported. Wildlife Alliance, in partnership with the Royal Government of Cambodia, operates six forest ranger stations whose mandate is to safeguard 1.7 million acres of tropical rainforest. The Southern Cardamoms are part of a mosaic of Protected Areas and Protected Forests that form Cambodia’s largest intact forest and one of Asia’s last remaining elephant corridors. Wildlife Alliance’s constant monitoring, repeated awareness campaigns, and strict enforcement of wildlife laws has curbed forest crime in the Southern Cardamoms and given elephant populations an opportunity to rebound. As increasing pressure is being placed on the remaining elephant habitat, and human-elephant conflict is expected to rise, it is important for Wildlife Alliance to continue its comprehensive conservation plan to ensure that this globally significant species is protected.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to protecting forests in Southeast Asia. Your gift is making a difference, and we you will make it go even further this Bonus Day! On September 16th, donations of up to $1,000 made through GlobalGiving will be matched at 30% while funds last - hurry because funds run out quickly! With your help, we can continue to protect Cambodia's wildlife and forests!

Links:

Degraded landscape
Degraded landscape

Desertification is one of the biggest environmental challenges we face, and yet most people do not fully understand it. In order to bring attention to this critical issue, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. Desertification does not actually refer to the spread of current deserts, but rather the irreversible degradation of soil through human activities such as deforestation, unsustainable farming, mining and overgrazing. It occurs when trees and root systems that bind the soil are removed causing topsoil erosion, and when unsustainable farming practices severely deplete nutrients. The result is an infertile mix of dust and sand that transforms fragile ecosystems into barren deserts while displacing the communities that depend on the land.

Since 2001, Wildlife Alliance has preserved 1.7 million acres of forestland and planted over 730,000 trees. Through advocacy, reforestation and law enforcement, we work tirelessly to preserve remaining forest cover and reconnect the canopy in the Southern Cardamom Mountains for the people and animals that depend on it. Our Community Agriculture Development Project incorporates sustainable farming practices into its land management strategy to empower local people to earn an income that does not depend on stripping the forest of its resources. Through forest protection and sustainable land management, we are working with local communities to not only prevent desertification, but also alleviate poverty and prevent food and water shortages.

Thank you for your continued support, we hope you'll join us in celebrating World Day to Combat Desertification by making a gift to the rangers that work dilegently to protect the Southern Cardamom Forest from illegal logging.

Illegally clearned forest
Illegally clearned forest
Southern Cardamoms- 2M Acres our Rangers Protect
Southern Cardamoms- 2M Acres our Rangers Protect
 

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Organization Information

Wildlife Alliance

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.wildlifealliance.org
Project Leader:
Chloe Lala-Katz
Communications and Finance Field Liaison
New York, NY United States
$14,578 raised of $30,000 goal
 
 
311 donations
$15,423 to go
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