Animals
 Cambodia
Project #4308

Help Care for Rescued Animals in Cambodia

by Wildlife Alliance
Chhouk happily approves of his new boot!
Chhouk happily approves of his new boot!

Chhouk, our young disabled male elephant, recently received a new prosthetic foot. At ten years old, Chhouk continues to grow quickly and is going through prosthetics just as fast! Late last year, the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics (CSPO) fitted Chhouk and made him a new shoe. The new design is lighter, stronger, and quicker for our staff to change. The new shoe quickly got Chhouk’s approval and he was running around his enclosure within minutes of trying on the new shoe!

Chhouk was found in 2007, at less than a year old, wandering alone in the forest in Northeast Cambodia. He had not only lost his foot to a poacher’s snare, but he was also gravely ill from the infected wound and severely malnourished. To gain his trust, our rescuers cared for him in the forest for two weeks before transporting him to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center where specialists were able to heal his wounds. Unfortunately, Chhouk’s lower leg had to be amputated but was replaced by a prosthesis from CSPO, which has changed his life completely. Our elephant keepers have trained Chhouk using only reward based positive reinforcement in order to effectively change his prosthetic leg. He is the first elephant in Cambodia to receive a prosthesis and is celebrated as a successful rescue story. Asian elephants are nearly full size at 15 years old, but continue to grow in size and weight until they are around 20-25 years old! At this rate, Chhouk will continue to outgrow his prosthetic legs, but thanks to the diligence of his keepers and CSPO, Chhouk won’t let his disability slow him down! 

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center was very busy as 2016 came to a close. In the final quarter, 168 animals arrived at Phnom Tamao, either through confiscation or donation; 11 animals were born including 3 smooth-coated otters, 2 silvered langurs, 5 Elds deer, and 2 muntjac; and 147 animals were released either within the Phnom Tamao Protected Forest or in Koh Kong by the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team. Thank you so much for your generous support of our Care for Rescued Wildlife program and for helping us give thousands of animals a second chance at a life in the wild!

A new lighter and stronger prosthetic foot.
A new lighter and stronger prosthetic foot.
Snack time for baby langurs at the nursery!
Snack time for baby langurs at the nursery!
Wild at heart
Wild at heart

Recently, a rescued rufous-winged buzzard chick was brought to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC). He was originally cared for in our nursery and was moved to a larger cage as he steadily grew. When he was big enough to be released, keepers placed a feeding table on the ground outside his enclosure and opened the cage door – releasing him into the protected forest surrounding PTWRC. Although he left our care, the keepers regularly saw him in the trees just behind the Nursery and often heard his mewing calls. He was thriving in the wild, catching insects and small vertebrates, and never taking any of the meat the keepers continually put down for him. Around two months later, one of the keepers, Lerm, saw the buzzard by his old cage, eating the meat we continued to provide. A closer inspection revealed the bird had an injured leg. Unable to catch his own food, the buzzard was smart enough to eat the food we were providing. After discovering the debilitating injury, Lerm brought the buzzard back into his care to treat his leg, with plans to release him after recovery. The injury was nearly fully healed when Lerm entered his cage to feed him one day, but wild at heart, the bird saw his chance and escaped! Lerm still leaves a little meat out for him, but we expect the tenacious little bird will do quite well on his own.

This buzzard exemplifies just one of the many ways our keepers go above and beyond for rescued animals, both while they are in our care and after they have been released. Although the buzzard did not utilize the free meals his keepers provided after his release, they continued to provide the meat, just in case. This may have saved the young bird’s life.

Another way the keepers want to provide exceptional care for our rescued birds is to provide them with a free flight aviary. In just the third quarter of 2016, 257 birds were brought to PTWRC. The large enclosure will house multiple birds as they recover and will allow them to fly and socialize, preparing them for life in the wild. With $2,000 left to raise there are only 28 days left to donate to this campaign. Donate today to help return these birds to the wild.

Lucky takes her daily walk through the woods.
Lucky takes her daily walk through the woods.

Lucky: a fitting name for the young female elephant who has made a full recovery from her brush with death at the beginning of last year. In February 2015, Lucky contracted Endotheliotropic Elephant Herpes Virus, a virus fatal to over 90% of the elephants who contract it.  Over a year later, Lucky is finally off all medication, is gaining weight and is getting back to her old, healthy self.  By December 2015, Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC) staff was still injecting Lucky every other day with 500mg of the corticosteroid that helped save her life.  Her caretakers gradually reduced her medication until a few months ago when she was finally healthy enough to stop receiving medication.  Although she has recovered from the virus, the illness severely harmed Lucky’s immune system and she contracts frequent infections which are treated as they come. 

Lucky’s treatments, which cost over $40,000, were made possible by many generous donors like you.  Although it was a large expense, the life of this magnificent endangered animal is priceless.  Lucky has been at PTWRC for fifteen years after she was rescued at just six months of age.  She has become our Elephant Ambassador and has touched the hearts of thousands and has inspired the next generation of conservationists and environmentalists in Cambodia.  She even acted as an adoptive mother when the injured elephant Chhouk arrived at the center.  Lucky is an incredible animal that continues to inspire us all.  We are happy to have her back to her old cheeky self, once again throwing dirt and water at visitors when she doesn’t get enough attention from them. 

Thank you for helping us save the lives of Lucky and other rescued animals at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center! 

Healthy and happy to see her caretaker!
Healthy and happy to see her caretaker!
Hand Reared Leopard Cat Kitten
Hand Reared Leopard Cat Kitten

During the first quarter of 2016, 31 animals were either born or hatched at PTWRC included four sambar deer, three muntjac deer, one silvered langur, one gaur, one pileated gibbon, two fruit bats and two common palm civets.There is also a constant stream of baby animals arriving at our Nursery, with many baby birds including parakeets, Oriental pied hornbills and four black kite chicks, now fledged, arriving during the past three months. A female sambar fawn has joined the young male at the Nursery.

Two very young leopard cat kittens were rescued from the illegal wildlife trade by the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) and were taken to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC) for care.  Unfortunately, one of the kittens was just too small and weak and could not survive.  The other kitten, however, is doing very well being hand raised and bottle-fed.  When Nick Marx, Wildlife Alliance's Wildlife Programs Director, visited the kitten, he thought the cat might be ready to start weaning off milk.  He offered the kitten a small piece of chicken and noticed an immediate transformation when the kitten realized what Nick was holding.  The cute and fluffy kitten excitedly devoured all the meat and nearly took off his hand! This is a good sign of the leopard cat kitten’s health and growth.  PTWRC staff will continue to give the kitten more meat as it rapidly grows. 

The first quarter of 2016 was a busy month for PTWRC, as the staff catered to 365 new animal arrivals to the center and 31 births in the center.  161 animals were also released back into the wild in the first quarter.

Thank you for helping the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center care for and release rescued wildlife.  Without your support, these animals would not get the second chance at life that they receive at PTWRC! 

Kitten at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center
Kitten at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center
Endangered baby gibbon born at the Center
Endangered baby gibbon born at the Center
Endangered silver langur breeding program
Endangered silver langur breeding program

The primary purpose of Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC) is to provide rescued wildlife with a safe and happy home to recover. PTWRC currently rehabilitates and cares for different species of primates such as gibbons, lorises, langurs, and macaques. Several of these species are classified by IUCN as Near Threatened, Vulnerable, or Endangered and all have decreasing population trends in the wild. In Cambodia, 9 out of the 10 primate species are either Endangered or Threatened. Primate populations in Cambodia continue to dwindle due to habitat destruction and hunting. Unless we get the local communities actively engaged in protecting them, we are sure to lose these primates forever.

PTWRC has incredible educational potential; it offers the opportunity for visitors to develop meaningful connections with animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade, which ultimately inspires them to create a better future for wildlife. With around 300,000 visitors every year, the Rescue Center is an ideal outlet to increase awareness of the illegal wildlife trade and be Cambodia’s leading center for conservation education. 

Wildlife Alliance is working to increase the outreach and educational component of the Center by constructing interactive and engaging Conservation Centers. The Primate Conservation Center will engage visitors in the unique life of Cambodian primates and the circumstances that brought them to the Center, informing them of the consequences of illegal hunting and the trade in wildlife, and what they can do to protect wildlife and wildlife habitat for the next generation. Visual and interactive educational materials will be shown in Khmer and English to maximize impact among diverse visitors.

Thank you for your contributions, your gift will provide invaluable education to thousands of visitors each year, and promote the long term conservation of some of the most threatened primates in the world.

Cambodian students and visitors at the Center
Cambodian students and visitors at the Center
Illegal wildlife trade orphans hundred of babies
Illegal wildlife trade orphans hundred of babies
At PTWRC, rescued animals get a second chance.
At PTWRC, rescued animals get a second chance.
 

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Organization Information

Wildlife Alliance

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.wildlifealliance.org
Project Leader:
Jessica Knierim
Development Associate
New York, NY United States

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