Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia

by Wildlife Alliance
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Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Raise Awareness to Protect Wildlife in Cambodia
Students showing off their elephant posters
Students showing off their elephant posters

I think we can all agree about what a long, strange trip it has been this year! In these tough times it is important to find blessings where you can, and despite incredible difficulties the Kouprey Express (KE) team faced we definitely found some silver linings. As described in our previous report, in May the KE developed a new strategy to bring environmental education to the masses in light of school closures and ban on events and public gatherings – by bringing the message directly to their homes. This tactic continues to be extremely well received and much more impactful, particularly in reaching adults. We have streamlined it into KE’s core programming, especially because COVID-19 will continue for the foreseeable future. In Cambodia, even after initial reopening of schools in October/November, recent outbreaks have caused two subsequent bouts of school shutdowns and event bans.

This quarter was a busy one for the KE. Since October 1, we have reached 5,222 people (4,777 youth and 445 adults, over 50% of whom are female) in the provinces of Kandal, Kompong Speu, Siem Reap, Koh Kong, and Mondulkiri, as well as the capital of Phnom Penh. We also distributed 11,445 wildlife notebooks, pens, t-shirts, and backpacks and 9,475 wildlife rescue hotline stickers and posters.

The door-to-door approach allows us a unique insight into people’s lives that we would not normally get through our school lessons and large-scale events. It also creates a much more personal connection and deeper understanding of just how personal environmental protection really is. This sentiment was echoed by Mr. Sang Sienghai, the village chief of Trapieng Cheutrav village in Kampong Speu province. According to Mr. Sang, “it is really fantastic to have the team come bring awareness and education on wildlife and forest conservation to the people in our village here. This way they will have an understanding that wildlife is not for us to kill, or to hunt, or to keep as pets. Wildlife and forests are so important for Cambodia because they can attract tourists to help rural communities earn an honest income, and forests are vital for our health to absorb CO2 and help balance the climate”.

The KE looks forward to continuing our outreach efforts, both for wildlife protection and human health, in 2021.

Females account for over 50% of our beneficiaries
Females account for over 50% of our beneficiaries
KE delivering wildlife materials to schools
KE delivering wildlife materials to schools
Explaining the importance of not eating wildlife
Explaining the importance of not eating wildlife
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Grandpa reads about bears in his wildlife notebook
Grandpa reads about bears in his wildlife notebook

COVID-19 has changed life as we know it and how we live it. It has forced us to reevaluate our decisions and how we go about our daily lives, including our work. Schools in Cambodia were closed nationwide and public gatherings banned in March, which all but derailed the KE’s activities as we work in classrooms and bring whole communities together in outreach events. However, a silver lining is that this forced the team to get creative and take advantage of the new and uncertain circumstances by trying new tactics – we are now bringing our wildlife lessons and messaging home, quite literally into people’s homes. As social distancing is keeping people away from their usual gathering spots, the KE has taken a new tact by going door-to-door. This approach has been well received and is proving to be quite effective, as the KE can reach multiple generations under one roof. It is also quite useful during the rainy season, which runs May through October, when we cannot hold our Community Night Shows. Overall, this is an excellent solution that enables us to reach a large swathe of people during times we usually cannot. In fact, we’ve just launched a new microproject to bring in-home lessons to end wildlife consumption to 1,500 homes and reach an estimated 6,000 students and family members across 8 provinces, and all donations up to $50 from September 14-18 will be matched at 50% by GlobalGiving. 

Zoonotic diseases, such as EBOLA, SARS and now the Covid-19 pandemic, are the result of wildlife consumption and habitat degradation. Now, more than ever, we are emphasizing how the health and future of people’s own communities are directly linked to that of local ecosystems and the dangers to human health posed by eating wildlife and wildlife parts. The in-home program includes handouts of a simplified version of our presentation, which covers Cambodia’s wildlife species and, threats facing them, various laws and punishments for wildlife crimes, and actions people can take to protect their natural heritage, such as not hunting and reporting wildlife crimes to Wildlife Alliance’s 24-hour nationwide Wildlife Rescue Hotline for the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team to take action. The KE also plays fun wildlife games with family members who can win wildlife-themed prizes such as t-shirts and backpacks. The team follows up with a post-visit call to each family and asks about their ideas, opinions, and suggestions to maximize impact, which ensures our efforts are effective and messaging is on target

This new door-to-door approach is working so well that the team is going to integrate it into our core program and continue to deliver it even after things normalize. Despite Covid-19, between June and August, the KE reached 5,668 community members (of which 3,063 are female and 2,082 are youth) in the provinces of Kompong Speu, Kompong Chhnang, Pursat, Siem Reap, Koh Kong, and in Phnom Penh. We are thrilled with not only how well our approach is resonating with both rural and urban audiences, but with the results as this is the largest number of people we have ever reached during rainy season! Your GlobalGiving contributions enable us to continue bringing environmental lessons to rural Cambodians who have no other access to education during this period of school closures – thank you!

Everyone gets wildlife notebooks and stickers!
Everyone gets wildlife notebooks and stickers!
Showing off the wildlife rescue hotline number
Showing off the wildlife rescue hotline number

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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.

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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. 

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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!

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Organization Information

Wildlife Alliance

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @WildlifeRescue
Project Leader:
Elisabeth Gish
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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