WHAT: Battling illegal wildlife trade.
IN DETAIL: Avid planet savers, the Wildlife Alliance works to eliminate wildlife extinction. The organization focuses on combatting illegal wildlife trade by cultivating alternate sources of income for struggling, underserved communities. Wildlife Alliance also provides hands-on rescue and rehabilitation to animals in plight.
Wildlife Alliance is an international non-profit wildlife and forest conservation organization with current programs and partnerships in Cambodia. It is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Phnom Penh. The logo of the organization is the Asian elephant, an emblematic species of Southeast Asia and the namesake for the organization’s programs in the Southwest Elephant Corridor of the Cardamom Mountains of Cambodia.
Wildlife Alliance’s major ongoing programs are:
- Care for Rescued Wildlife – Since 2001, Wildlife Alliance’s Care for Rescued Wildlife program have ensured that all rescued wildlife unfit for immediate release are given expert treatment, natural enclosures, a healthy diet, and trained veterinary care for as long as necessary. Working at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, the staff has built large natural enclosures and designed excellent care protocols for the over 1,200 animals in their care. Wildlife Alliance has also created a Wildlife Rehabilitation Station in Koh Kong Province where animals that are deemed suitable for release into the wild are relocated to a forested enclosure in an appropriate area of habitat. Utilizing a soft release method, when the animals are ready for release the door to the enclosure is left open and the animals are free to leave at will. They continue to provide hands-off assistance and supplementary food at the enclosure location for as long as it is necessary.
- Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) – A law enforcement squad devoted solely to combating illegal wildlife trade composed of Cambodian Forestry Administration officials and Military Police with technical and financial support from Wildlife Alliance. The team has a national mandate to suppress the illegal wildlife trade on roads, in markets and restaurants, and along the border. As of 20183, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team has rescued more than 71,000 live animals and confiscated large quantities of animal parts and other contraband.
- Southern Cardamom Forest Protection Program – The rangers that patrol the 720,000 hectares work in partnership with both the Wildlife Alliance and the Royal Government of Cambodia making the southern region of the Cardamom Mountains the best protected rainforest in Southeast Asia. Each of the 7 ranger stations holds twelve forest rangers and two Wildlife Alliance advisors comprising two patrol units. These rangers conduct daily patrols removing snares, confiscate illegal timber and dismantle poacher’s camps. During the 18 months prior to the implementation of the ranger program, 37 elephants and 12 tigers were killed, however, there have been no elephant poachings in Cambodia since 2007.
- Tropical Reforestation Project – Located in Chi Phat, the Tropical Reforestation Project is a commune that employs local community members to collect seeds from more than 90 indigenous tropical tree species, grow the saplings in the nursery, and then replant trees in deforested areas to reconnect gaps in the elephant corridor. The Reforestation Project combats the impact of slash-and-burn farming and illegal logging while providing sustainable livelihoods to the very people who were previously engaging in those activities.
- Zoning and Demarcation – Wildlife Alliance facilitates clear delineation of strictly protected forest zones versus community land where farmers can develop agriculture. The combination of a participatory planning process and the installation of visible posts on the ground has greatly helped in reducing land grabbing and deforestation.
- Community Agriculture Development Project – The Community Agriculture Development Project in Sovanna Baitong focuses on improving the livelihoods of 187 families who were previously destroying the rainforest through slash-and-burn cultivation and hunting wildlife. With the technical assistance of Wildlife Alliance, villagers have created and manage a Community Agriculture Association that oversees agriculture production, marketing of goods, health care, education, natural resource conservation, a savings program, a micro-credit system. More than 85% of the families now earn well above the initial goal of $40 per month.
- Community Based Ecotourism – The Community-Based Ecotourism project in Chi Phat focus on assisting the communities to develop micro-enterprises, infrastructure, and tourism attractions. The sites feature a variety of activities that help visitors explore the Southern Cardamoms and provide an alternative livelihood to former slash-and-burn farmers and illegal poachers. Since its inception it has been mentioned in numerous travel articles and the increased revenue and attention has led to the development of a community waste management system, one of the first of its kind in Cambodia 
- Kouprey Express – Named for the Kouprey (Bos sauveli), a species of ox believed to be extinct in the wild, the Kouprey Express is a bus full of engaging and interactive educational materials that travels throughout the Southern Cardamoms visiting schools and rural villages teaching environmental protection and management. Beginning in 2008, the Kouprey Express adopted a targeted strategy to maximize impact by distributing reusable environmental education curricula and materials, and by training teachers in Koh Kong province how to use these curricula. Currently, the Kouprey Express team targets up to 20 primary schools per year conducting lessons in habitat and wildlife protection, pollution prevention, sustainable livelihoods, and energy use and climate change.