Equip Rangers to Protect Endangered Wildlife

by Wildlife Alliance
Vetted
22 Logs of Illegal Timber Confiscated
22 Logs of Illegal Timber Confiscated

 On April 10, 2014, an undercover operation conducted by Wildlife Alliance’s forest patrol unit led to the confiscation of 22 logs of luxury timber. For three days, the Assistant Supervisor of Sre Ambel Station posed as a timber trader to gain insider information on an upcoming shipment of illegal timber. While following an intermediary trader, he discovered the stash of illegal timber ready to be transported. He immediately called the Station Supervisor, and the patrol team arrived late at night, just as the drivers began to haul the timber away. The offenders did everything they could to prevent the patrol team from confiscating the illegal timber. To intimidate the officers, the traders opened fire at the patrol unit, and a shoot-out ensued in the darkness. However, the team persevered and was able to confiscate the two trucks containing the illegal wood and drove the evidence back to the station. The team pursued the traders but was unable to catch them as they were heavily armed and able to slip into the forest cover.

The Southern Cardamom Forest Protection Program forest rangers work day and night, risking their lives to protect the forest. Last year alone, the rangers removed 13,474 snares, confiscated 8,369 cubic feet of illegal timber and rescued 448 animals. Right now, the team is in urgent need of a new vehicle in order to continue their operations. The truck, which would cost $30,000, would allow them to continue to patrol over the 1.7 million acres of forest in the Southern Cardamoms. Help these rangers continue to protect the Southern Cardamom Mountain Range and its wildlife!

Last year rangers confiscated 8,369 ft3 of timber
Last year rangers confiscated 8,369 ft3 of timber
Confiscated boat with Timber
Confiscated boat with Timber

Recently, the Tatai Ranger station received information about a boat heading towards the coast carrying illegal wood. According to the informant, the boat that was transporting the illegal wood was stuck in an estuary near Botum Sakor National Park due to low tide. Project Manager Eduard Lefter and the Tatai ranger team immediately headed towards the area by speedboat; as they headed south, they called the Trapeang Roung Station for backup.

An hour later, when the team finally found the boat, it was nearly empty. In fact, the informant had called them too early and the perpetrators had barely started loading the boat. As the rangers approached the area, the offenders ran away and took cover in the forest. The team found a large boat with four cubic meters (141 cubic feet) of wood, and two smaller boats ready to be loaded. There was also an astonishing 35-40 cubic meters (1,236 – 1,412 cubic feet) of timber hidden in the river, about 200-300 meters (656-986 feet) deep. After 3 hours of loading up the boats, the team transported the timber and boats back to the station, destroying what they had to leave behind.

Wildlife Alliance’s forest rangers risk their lives every day to patrol over 1.7 million acres of forest in the Southern Cardamom Mountain Range. Last year alone, the Forest Protection team conducted 7,099 patrols, confiscated over 237.7 cubic meters of illegal rosewood and timber and rescued 448 animals. Help them continue to make an impact by making a gift today!

Timber confiscations
Timber confiscations
Confiscating the Gibbon
Confiscating the Gibbon

Early in the morning on November 6th, 2013, forest rangers from the Koh Pao station were on patrol when they heard the distinctive sounds of gunshots being fired. The team immediately took action and drove aggressively toward the area of the forest where the shots originated. Upon arrival, the team discovered three gunmen fleeing the scene with a dead gibbon. In hot pursuit, they chased after the offenders. Two gunmen escaped into the dense forest, however the offender in possession of the dead gibbon was arrested and immediately taken to the station for questioning. Later that morning he was transferred to the local court, where he was charged with illegal wildlife trafficking and will be facing maximum sentencing for the killing of an endangered species.

With approximately only 35,000 individuals left in the wild, gibbon populations are on sharp decline due to hunting and habitat fragmentation. They are famous for the incredible calls that resonate through the forest. They vocalize in defense of their territory; however hunters often use these calls to pinpoint their location and capture them. This is the first dead gibbon the team has confiscated in years, and they were very lucky to catch the hunter in action.

Help our forest rangers stop wildlife crime in the Southern Cardamom Mountain Range by making a gift today!

Pulling Wood Out of the River
Pulling Wood Out of the River

On August 25th and September 28th, 2013 Wildlife Alliance patrol units halted two illegal shipments of rosewood in the middle of the rainforest, after intense pursuits on Sre Ambel River. Just before the traffickers escaped from their boats, they threw part of their precious shipment of timber overboard hoping to salvage some of their profits from an estimated value of $65,000.

On September 28th, an informant called a Wildlife Alliance officer at the Tatai patrol station informing him that a stock of rosewood was hidden in the Sre Ambel River after being illegally harvested from the rainforest that Wildlife Alliance is protecting. The Tatai team immediately went to search and found the stock immersed in the river, approximately 3 meters down. They found more than 6 tons of rosewood and 1.7 cubic meters of another luxury timber called Thnong. It took 2 days and the help of the Sre Ambel patrol unit to extract the timber from the water and transport it back to the station.

Four weeks prior, on August 25th at 3:00 am, 2 slow boats with 5.5 tons of rosewood were trying to pass silently in front of the Sre Ambel patrol station with engines off so as to not be noticed. But, because they are on duty at night, the patrol unit was on alert. The team immediately jumped into the patrol speed boat to chase the trafficker’s boats. The offenders started their engines to try to evade capture, but the patrol unit was faster. The offenders realized they were cornered and had no choice but to jump out of the boats and run into the rainforest. The timber was seized and transported to the patrol station. The total shipment amounted to 5.5 tons of rosewood, 9 cubic meters of thnong, and 5.5 cubic meters of other precious timber from the protected rainforest, a huge confiscation for the team.

Timber Confiscation
Timber Confiscation
Rangers on Patrol
Rangers on Patrol

The Southern Cardamom Forest Protection Program had a very busy month confiscating over 2,000 snares, more than 4 cubic meters of illegal redwood and other timber, 1 pangolin, 8 turtles, 2 water dragons, and 3 birds. And despite making nearly 40 patrol stops, they were only able to apprehend one offender, as most suspects flee the scene before they can be questioned.  This is just another example of how difficult the task of forest protection truly can be – even when they are able to confiscate the tools of destruction, more often than not the actors elude them. Yet despite this challenge it is vital to conduct regular forest patrols both to stop offenders in the act, and to deter others from taking up such activities.

Our Forest Protection program would not be possible without the support of the Cambodian government. Last week, Suwanna Gauntlett, founder and CEO of Wildlife Alliance had a very productive meeting with the Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister, Yim Chhay Ly, reinforcing Wildlife Alliance’s relationship with the government and Cambodia’s continued commitment to forest protection. This collaboration is essential to maintain the effectiveness of our direct, on the ground efforts to combat deforestation and wildlife trafficking, and we are grateful for their support. You can read the full press release below.

Suwanna with the Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia
Suwanna with the Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia

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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
$14,474 raised of $30,000 goal
 
304 donations
$15,527 to go
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