As with the rest of the world, our education activities have been greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Cambodia’s schools closed on March 16 and will not be reopening until the start of the next academic year in November and gatherings of over 5 people are not allowed. As such, all of the Kouprey Express’s usual activities have been suspended for now.
However, this global health crisis has highlighted the need for education and outreach about eating wildlife at an unprecedented level. Our team has turned to social media and are pushing a nationwide campaign to #StopEatingWildlife. Many of the devastating viruses in recent memories, such as SARS and Ebola, have originated in wildlife, similarly to Covid-19. We are hoping that our outreach and education efforts will reach people on a deeper level and will cause significant behavioral changes. This crisis has shown that even local conservation efforts can have an impact on a global scale. To stop future pandemics, we must #StopEatingWildlife.
The Kouprey Express, Wildlife Alliance's environmental education team, were busy last month inspiring Cambodia's next generation of environmentalists! A total of 223 teachers and students from Phnom Penh and Prey Veng province visited our Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center where they met animals that were rescued from the illegal wildlife trade, learned more about the hard work of our keepers, and gained a deeper appreciation for Cambodia's natural heritage. The team also raised awareness on wildlife and habitat protection through lessons to 180 students from Kampong Speu and Prey Veng provinces. Cambodia has a very young population (60% of people are under 30) so by establishing a culture of an appreciation for nature in the country's youth, we hope to effect long term change in conservation. We're proud to be working with Educational Life International Cambodia (Ltd), Hope Village, Development for Community Center, and Destiny Rescue Center Cambodia (DRCC) on these initiatives.
Ms. Eang is a student at Baray High School in Kompong Thom province and is part of the US Embassy’s Access program. The program provides talented teens from economically disadvantaged backgrounds English language foundations to help them secure better jobs. The Kouprey Express (Wildlife Alliance’s environmental education program) visited the Access program students at their school and taught them the importance of protecting Cambodia’s forests and wildlife. After the classroom lessons, Ms. Eang and her classmates were brought on a field trip by the Kouprey Express to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center where they learned more about wildlife and met animals that were victims of the wildlife trade that had been rescued by Wildlife Alliance. Watch this video of Ms. Eang explaining how vital it is to not only protect wildlife and forests but that we must all work together now for conservation.
It is with your help that we are able to bring students to meet wildlife first hand at the rescue center. Thank you!
While Cambodia is in the epicenter of the Indo-burma biodiversity hotspot, its wildlife is under threat. The Kouprey Express (KE), Wildlife Alliance’s environmental education program, aims to raise awareness and cultivate a culture of conservation throughout Cambodia. They travel throughout the country to engage and educate students and communities about their country’s incredible wildlife. In May, in collaboration with the US Embassy, the KE team traveled to the ESL Excellence School in Prey Veng province to promote wildlife and environmental conservation through lessons and games. To compliment the classroom lessons, the KE team also brought the students to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center where rescued wildlife is cared for, rehabilitated, and often prepared for release back into the wild. After learning about the threats facing Cambodia’s wildlife and then meeting rescued animals first hand, the students were very inspired to protect their country’s wildlife and forests for generations to come.
One of the key pillars to reducing demand for wildlife for meat and medicine is raising awareness of its dangers, with intervention especially needed in hot spots of the wildlife trade. On March 27, the Kouprey Express (KE), Wildlife Alliance’s mobile environmental education team, gave classroom lessons to 35 students at Preah Kosamak Sihanok Primary School and held a Community Night Show in O’sandanchas village in Kampong Chhnang province. The KE is intervening in this area and surrounding villages because the region is rife with wildlife poaching and wildlife products are openly sold on the market. The KE’s community event attracted 100 villagers for a night of educational entertainment. The team addressed the inherent and financial benefits of protecting Cambodia’s natural heritage and protecting its wildlife. Some villagers raised concerns since they make money by exploiting wildlife, however, Ms. Yi, an audience member of about 60 years of age, stood up to address her community and urged them not to hunt, eat, or traffic wildlife and to urged them to report any illegal wildlife trafficking to Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Rescue Hotline (012 500 094).
We're raising funds to do more interventions across Cambodia to change attitudes about eating bushmeat. Consumption of bushmeat poses a serious threat to the survival of threatened species and to the health of local people. Many endangered species, such as pangolins, gibbons, and banteng, are largely being driven to extinction due to being over-hunted. Bushmeat also puts humans in close contact with wildlife making them susceptible to disease transmission and outbreaks. If you donate to this project between April 8-12, your donation up to $50 will be MATCHED at 60%! Don't miss your chance to participate in this year's little-by-little campaign and maximize your impact to help us save rare wildlife.
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