The illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion-dollar industry that threatens endangered species' survival and human health as zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19 emerge. Cambodia is both a wildlife source and transit country, and trafficking was rampant in 2001 when our Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team was established to crack down on the trade. Since then, our Team has rescued over 73,000 live animals, apprehended almost 8,000 offenders, and confiscated 42,000+ lbs. of wildlife meat and contraband.
The illegal wildlife trade is a growing criminal enterprise that leaves once-flourishing forests barren, undermines governments and threatens human health. Millions of animals victimized by traffickers each year are sold into the pet trade, killed for meat/parts or kept alive in inhumane conditions. Combatting this requires dedicated teams with the authority, skills and knowledge to enforce laws that protect wildlife, investigate and bust trade networks, and safely handle rescued animals.
Wildlife Alliance and the Cambodian Government established our mobile law enforcement unit in 2001 to fight wildlife crime nationwide. Military police, officials from the Forestry and the Fisheries Administrations, and NGO staff work in concert with an informant network and utilize tips from the public to conduct undercover investigations into the illegal trade. The Team intercepts wildlife shipments, builds solid court cases against offenders and rescues thousands of live animals every year.
The Team's ongoing presence and success are effectively suppressing the illegal wildlife trade. By enforcing the rule of law, we disrupt networks trafficking international contraband such as African ivory through Cambodia, ensure offenders are prosecuted, seize goods, and save animals' lives. Long-term, this project ensures more wild animals remain in their native habitats by deterring people from participating in the trade and it helps wildlife populations rebound by releasing rescued animals.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).