Equip Rangers to Protect Endangered Wildlife

by Wildlife Alliance
Vetted
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!

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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
Rangers with Confiscated Rosewood
Rangers with Confiscated Rosewood

At the end of last year, Wildlife Alliance’s forest patrol unit confiscated 12.5 cubic meters of illegal rosewood – the largest bust of the year! After receiving information from a local informant, the rangers hid along a dirt road for six hours waiting to intercept the illegal wood while in transit. At 3 am, the rangers finally heard engines approaching and jumped on their motorbikes to stop the shipment. As soon as they saw the two large trucks slowly trudging along, four rangers quickly opened the vehicle doors and took control of the trucks. The drivers were handcuffed and the roads were blocked to prevent them from escaping.

Taking the two trucks back to the station was no easy task: after negotiating the dirt roads in the dark, the trucks had to cross several wooden bridges spanning raging rivers to access the closest patrol station. As they started crossing the first bridge, they heard the bridge breaking under the heavy load! So the decision had to be made to take the trucks to a ranger station more than 90 km further instead.

The convoy arrived at the Wildlife Alliance Sre Ambel station at 9 am where they had to count the logs and fill in the legal documentation. 12.5 cubic meters of rosewood were recorded and it was determined that the Chief of the Military Police of Kompong Speu province was the owner of this illegal shipment. This was not going to be an easy case, and just minutes after the Forestry Administration officer leading the operation informed the local Forestry office, the court ordered the officer to bring the two trucks immediately to the court. This had never happened before – as evidence is always kept at the patrol stations under the jurisdiction of the Forestry Administration – but the law authorizes judges to make this kind of decision. We are now following up with the case to ensure that the Chief Military Police is not granted impunity and that the rosewood and trucks are not returned to him in secret.

Rosewood is an especially complicated matter because a lot of money is at stake. It is estimated that 1 cubic meter of rosewood sells for upwards of $50,000 in China and Vietnam. Forest crime uses a sophisticated network that preys on poverty stricken nations and people. Throughout the developing world, it is necessary to take precautions against corruption and information leaks, and doing so often puts the teams dangerously at odds with other officials. However, these vigilant wildlife heroes remain unfaltering. In 2014, the teams confiscated 192 cubic meters of illegal timber and 18 cubic meters of rosewood, removed 22,835 snares and 4,835 meters of netting from the forest, stopped 58 forest firest and rescued 543 animals. Thank you for your support, their important work would not be possible without your continued commitment!

Confiscated wood at the ranger station
Confiscated wood at the ranger station
Help protect the Southern Cardamom Mountain Range!
Help protect the Southern Cardamom Mountain Range!
Leopard cat kitten safe after rescue
Leopard cat kitten safe after rescue

Last month, the Trapeang Rung Patrol Unit received information from an informant about the trafficking of a leopard cat kitten. The traders were seen leaving Koh Kong Town in a Toyota Camry with the kitten and were heading towards Phnom Penh. The rangers left immediately to intercept the vehicle at a nearby checkpoint on Highway 48. After several cars were cleared, the Camry finally pulled up and a thorough search of the vehicle was conducted. Unfortunately, no wildlife was found and the suspect was free to go. Realizing the trader must have disposed of the kitten when he saw the rangers at the checkpoint, the team decided to spread out and search for the animal. After several hours, the rangers found the poor kitten, trapped in a box and hidden in the forest near the main road. The next day, the kitten was transferred to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Station near Chi Phat to be cared for and rehabilitated for possible future release.

Leopard cats are frequently traded for their fur, meat and as pets. While the suspect in this case could not be arrested, if it were not for the intervention of the Forest Protection team, this kitten would have suffered an unconscionable fate. So far this year, the rangers have rescued 388 animals and removed about 17,000 animal traps from the forest. Their ability to utilize an effective informant network, conduct vehicle checkpoints and patrol the forest for criminal activity has made the Southern Cardamom Mountains one of the best-protected rainforests in Southeast Asia. However, protecting 2 million acres of forest in a developing country like Cambodia, where funds towards environmental protection are limited, can be extremely challenging. Our ability to strengthen frontline protection, provide rangers with specialized training and drive down forest crime would not be possible without your support.

Help our Forest Protection Program continue to rescue animals and protect the Southern Cardamoms by making a gift to forest protection today!

Rangers find bucket in the forest along the road
Rangers find bucket in the forest along the road
Inside the bucket they found the little kitten
Inside the bucket they found the little kitten
Sun bear cub found in blue box
Sun bear cub found in blue box

On October 20, 2014, the Tatai Patrol Station in the Southern Cardamoms received a phone call from an informant about a sun bear cub that was being held captive in an area 70 km north of Koh Kong Town. The team left immediately to rescue the bear and called upon the Koh Pao Patrol unit for assistance. When the rangers arrived, they surrounded the house and asked the owner for permission to check the property. The owner agreed, and a full search was conducted, but no bear was found. The rangers decided to search a nearby hut, where they located a blue container. Inside the blue container was a tiny bear cub, no more than 6 months old! Unfortunately, the owner of the hut was nowhere to be found, and neighbors informed the rangers that he only visited the property occasionally. The rangers will continue to investigate the matter in order to identify and arrest the hunter. The bear was taken back to the station, and was transferred the next day to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center for care.

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 - have been decimated. The demand for bear parts on the international black market is high and poachers and traffickers can fetch a high price for paws, bile, and gallbladders. Adult bears are poached for their paws - considered a delicacy in soup. 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. Bear "farms" keep the bears caged and alive, while their gall bladder and bile is harvested and sold as traditional medicine.

Help our Forest Protection Program put an end to bear trafficking and continue to rescue animals by making a gift today!

Rangers searching hut, where they noticed the bin
Rangers searching hut, where they noticed the bin
Tatai station with rescued cub
Tatai station with rescued cub
 

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Organization Information

Wildlife Alliance

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.wildlifealliance.org
Project Leader:
Sheena Thiruselvan
Development Officer
New York, NY United States
$16,852 raised of $30,000 goal
 
355 donations
$13,149 to go
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